Luka Doncic will not play USA in the pre-World Cup friendly


Dallas Mavericks All-NBA guard Luka Doncic is absent from Slovenia’s active squad for Saturday’s friendly against the United States on what his team called a precaution.

It was the second game in a row for Slovenia, who lost to Spain in a 99-79 duel on Friday. Doncic had 17 points in that game. In his first three appearances with the national team this summer, he notched two triple-doubles as he prepared for the World Cup which begins later this month.

Doncic was sidelined early in the game on Friday but came back in the second half after a brief injury scare. Slovenia said in a statement it did not want to “leave anything to chance” before traveling to Japan to continue World Cup preparations.

Slovenia – ranked 7th in the world according to FIBA, the sport’s global governing body – is aiming for its first World Cup medal. With Doncic at the helm, Slovenia finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago; He averaged 23.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game in that tournament and finished first or second in all three categories.

Slovenia will play their final game against Japan on August 19. Doncic’s team will open the World Cup match on August 26 in Okinawa, Japan against Venezuela, followed by matches against Georgia on August 28 and Cape Verde on August 30.

Doncic averaged 32.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game for the Mavericks last season. He is one of two last-season All-NBA players earmarked for the World Championship; Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from Oklahoma City is the other.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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