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Tall Blacks lose to Slovenia, Doncic magic

Updated: Jul 5

The Tall Blacks have been beaten by Slovenia to end their Paris 2024 dream at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Greece.

New Zealand side lost 104-78 to Slovenia on Thursday (Friday NZ Time), following a 90-86 win over Croatia 24 hours earlier, meaning all three teams in Group A finished with 1-1 records in Piraeus, Greece.


However, Croatia and Slovenia went through to the semifinals with a superior points differential.

The Tall Blacks' equation was to win, or lose by no more than 11 to Slovenia, but a NBA star Luka Doncic had other ideas.

The Dallas Mavericks star scored a triple-double of 36 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists..

Slovenia started far stronger with a 12-2 run, but the Tall Blacks rebounded in the second quarter, scoring 30 points and kept going early in the second half, closing the gap to 49-43.

The Tall Blacks have been beaten by Slovenia ending their Olympic qualifying hopes
Shea Ili put in another good offensive game, but the Tall Blacks were beaten by Slovenia, ending their Olympic hopes. PHOTO: FIBA

But Doncic combined with Gregor Hrovat on a 13-0 run, spurring Slovenia to a 62-43 lead midway through the third quarter.

Doncic nailed a three-pointer to push the lead to 77-57 at the end of the third quarter, and the New Zealanders couldn't bridge the gap in the final period.

Slovenia missed out on winning by 29 which would have given them first place in the group. but Croatia have filled that spot they head into the semi-finals as first seed.

For New Zealand Shea Ili had 28 points and 10 rebounds while Izayah Le'afa made 12 and Tyrell Harrison eight points with seven rebounds.


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