NBA superstar Luka Doncic has made a spectacular Olympic debut with 48 points, equalling Australia's Eddie Palubinskas for the second-highest total in Games men's basketball history.
In Slovenia's first Olympic game ever - a 118-110 win over Argentina - Doncic scored 31 points in the first half alone, putting him on pace to break the Games' scoring record of 55 points by Brazilian Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt in 1988.
Though he didn't have to do as much in the second half with Slovenia's huge lead, the guard for the Dallas Mavericks stayed on the floor well into the fourth quarter and ended up tied with Palubinskas, who had 48 for Australia in the 1976 Games in Montreal.
Slovenia didn't even have a spot in the Olympics until earlier this month but is a medal threat thanks to Doncic, who had a historic first postseason in the NBA and might just do the same in the Olympics.
Slovenia has been a country on the rise, winning the EuroBasket title in 2017 and then qualifying for Tokyo by winning one of the Olympic qualifying touraments earlier this month. The Slovenians knocked off host Lithuania in the final after Doncic went right to playing for his country after the Mavericks were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.
It was quickly clear Doncic would be the star of this show with 15 points before the game was five minutes old.
Casually launching his step-back 3-pointers from well behind the international 3-point arc - one came from just inside the TOKYO 2020 logo at centre court - Doncic shot from places where Argentina just couldn't come out to defend.
When they tried, he just took his game inside, getting consecutive baskets on follow shots in the second quarter.
Manu Ginobili was impressed, the Argentine great tweeting at halftime that Doncic was "a beast" and praising his "tremendous mastery of the game."
Doncic had already shown he had that playing in Europe even before going on to win Rookie of the Year honors in the NBA. In his second season, he became the first NBA player to average 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in his first postseason series.
Australian Associated Press