On Tuesday morning, the Olympic basketball semi-finals were set in Tokyo. France endured a late Italy comeback and prevailed 85-78. Slovenia got 20 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds from Luka Doncic as they cruised to a 94-70 victory. So let’s take a look at the matchup between France and Slovenia.
France vs Slovenia
Both teams enter this Semi-Finals matchup undefeated so far during the Olympics. Slovenia is the highest scoring team in the tournament and France has been one of the stingiest on the defensive side of the basketball.
Slovenia is more than just Doncic doing damage. In their victory over Germany, Zoran Dragic (younger brother of Goran) scored 27 points and six rebounds. His five three-pointers prevented Germany from focusing only on Doncic. Slovenia is undefeated (17-0) when Doncic puts on his country’s jersey in international play.
France enters the Semi-Finals fresh off a victory over Italy but it took a complete 40-minute effort to claim victory. After looking like they were going to put away the Italians after taking a 10-point lead at the end of the fourth quarter, the French had to withstand a furious fourth-quarter comeback.
Italy tied the game with six minutes left in the final quarter but the Los Angeles Clippers swingman Nicolas Batum and Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert made sure that the comeback was short lived.
In Thursday’s game, Slovenia will attempt to spread out France’s interior defense. The best way to minimize Gobert is to play an up-and-down game and continue their good shooting from beyond the arc. If Doncic can keep the French moving in circles on defense, his teammates should have open looks all over the floor.
France wants to play a half-court game and attempt to use their size and their strength advantage to wear down Slovenia. By using Gobert, Moustapha Fall and Guerschon Yabusele, France has more than enough to size and Evan Fournier and Nando De Colo should get open looks with Slovenia worrying about defending the paint.
Prediction: Doncic has been brilliant so far in the Olympics and France has not played a player who does as much as he does. Expect France to throw every available body to make sure he doesn’t score 30 points or more. When Slovenia gets help from others, they are almost unbeatable. I’m taking Olympic Luka over FIBA Fournier in the potentially the best game in the Olympics. Slovenia 91-88