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France survives Luka Doncic triple-double, to face Team USA for gold medal

France beat Spain in the gold medal game to win their first ever FIBA World Cup title. The French team is led by Luka Doncic, who had a triple-double in the Game 7 victory.

The basketball triple double is a basketball score of 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. France had one against Team USA in the semi-finals.

SAITAMA, JAPAN – SAITAMA, JAPAN – With the game on the line with seconds remaining, Klemen Prepelic of Slovenia had no one between him and a layup that would have put his nation in the gold-medal game at the Tokyo Olympics.

Nicolas Batum just had one idea in his head.

“That was a play I had to make,” Batum added.

With 2.4 seconds remaining, he did just that, reaching over Prepelic to stop the shot. With that, France defeated Slovenia 90-89 in the Olympic men’s basketball semifinals on Thursday night, overcoming a historic performance from Luka Doncic.

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The prize: a rematch versus the United States, the three-time Olympic winners. France has won both of their previous encounters with the Americans, including the opening game of the Tokyo Olympics. The French will be as good as gold if they can do it again on Saturday.

“I’ve always wanted to play in a game like this,” Batum remarked. “And it was up to me to make this — this — play for my squad. And I was successful.”

Doncic recorded the third triple-double in Olympic men’s history (16 points, 10 rebounds, and 18 assists), but it wasn’t enough to save Slovenia from falling to 17-1 when he wears the national team colors.

“I don’t believe we played very well, but we were there,” Doncic said afterward, an ice pack on his wrist. “This was our final opportunity, and we blew it.”

He may one day be an Olympic champion, but not yet.

Luka Doncic recorded just the third triple-double in Olympic men’s basketball history, but Nicolas Batum’s game-winning block helped France beat Slovenia to the gold medal game. Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

Only twice previously has France advanced this far in an Olympics, losing in the finals to the Americans in the 1948 London and 2000 Sydney Games. On Saturday night, Slovenia will face Australia for bronze, with the winner receiving the first-ever men’s basketball medal.

“Probably one of the greatest blocks I’ve seen,” said Rudy Gobert of France, who is perhaps the best shot-blocker in the world right now. “It’s incredible to be able to struggle for 40 minutes and win an Olympic game on that block. It is for this reason that you participate in the game. This is why you put in the effort, sacrifice time with your family, and come here to attempt to achieve something and be a part of those moments.”

Nando de Colo scored 25 points, Evan Fournier added 23, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot contributed 15 for France, which is currently 5-0 in the men’s competition. For France, Gobert scored nine points, 16 rebounds, and four blocks, while Batum blocked four shots, the last of which was the game-winner.

Slovenia’s Mike Tobey had 23 points, while Prepelic had 17.

France trailed by eight points in the first half before gaining a ten-point lead late in the third quarter and surviving a chaotic fourth quarter. Slovenia drew even twice in the fourth quarter, both times on Tobey’s inside baskets, but never grabbed the lead.

Slovenia coach Aleksander Sekulic stated, “We fought them like we were the same.”

With 56.1 seconds remaining, Luwawu-Cabarrot received a kickout pass from Gobert and hit a wide-open 3-pointer to put France up 90-85. Slovenia pulled within four points after a free throw, but Fournier was fouled out on the following France possession while dribbling upcourt on an offensive foul.

Slovenia was alive and well.

On the next play, Prepelic received a pass from Doncic and scored a 3-pointer to get Slovenia within one point. The game came down to the last shot, which Batum blocked while Slovenia protested for a foul but were unsuccessful.

When the game was finished, Batum walked up to Doncic and gave him a hug and words of encouragement, urging him to use the defeat as motivation to keep his fame rising.

Doncic had previously flirted with triple-doubles at these Olympics, and he eventually got one on a rebound that set up Slovenia’s last possession. Other Olympic men’s triple-doubles include Alexander Belov for the Soviet Union in 1976 and LeBron James for the United States in 2012.

“He’s the here and now,” Batum said. “And he’ll be the next.”

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