NBA star Luka Doncic scored a sensational 48 points as Slovenia routed Argentina 118-100 in their first game of the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament on Monday.
On his Olympic debut, the 22-year-old Dallas Mavericks guard had 31 points in the first half and at one stage was on track to break the Olympic scoring record of 55 points set by Brazil’s Oscar Schmidt in 1988.
His final total still tied the second-highest total in men’s basketball history at the Games.
“It was very special,” Doncic said. “Both for me and the whole team.”
Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said Doncic “killed us” with 15 points in a devastating three-minute spell.
“I said it two years ago and I say it again: he’s the best player in the world,” Hernandez said.
Ricky Rubio scored 20 points as world champions Spain made a solid start to their challenge by beating host nation Japan 88-77.
The experienced Minnesota Timberwolves guard hit 62 percent from the field as the bronze medallists from 2016 proved too strong for Japan and their NBA players Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe.
Hachimura, the Washington Wizards forward who was one of Japan’s flagbearers at the opening ceremony, grabbed 20 points and Toronto Raptors forward Watanabe contributed 19 points.
But Rubio got able support from Marc Gasol, who scored 12 points, and Victor Claver, with 13 points, and Spain were never troubled.
Japan are the next country to face Doncic and Slovenia in Group C on Thursday when Spain play Argentina.