“Today, I played terribly … I let the whole country that was supporting us down” - 3x NBA All-Star holds himself accountable following his team’s EuroBasket exit, refuses to blame injury for his performance

Slovenia v Poland: Quarterfinal Round  - FIBA EuroBasket 2022
Slovenia v Poland: Quarterfinal Round - FIBA EuroBasket 2022

Luka Doncic was the latest NBA superstar to bow out of the 2022 EuroBasket tournament in the knockout stages. Poland handed Doncic's Slovenia a 90-87 loss in their quarter-finals clash on Wednesday.

Luka Doncic limps into the locker room at halftime.Slovenia was destroyed by Poland in the first half, 58-39 😳

The Dallas Mavericks star appeared to be struggling with a back injury in the first half. However, he refused to blame his health for his underwhelming performance after the game, saying (H/T Clutch Points on Twitter):

"I don't know, probably not 100% (health-wise). I received injection in the third quarter. I was dealing with a lot of this EuroBasket. But that's not the reason, you know. Today I played terribly. I let my team down. I let the whole country who was supporting us down. And that's on me. I got to look back at this game and be better."
"Today, I played terribly. I let my team down. I let the whole country that was supporting us down... I got to look back at this game and be better."Luka Doncic says his back wasn't the reason Slovenia loss to Poland

Slovenia were down by 21 points at the end of the first half as Doncic limped off the floor. He had nine points, four rebounds and four assists by then. Slovenia came out swinging in the third quarter to trim Poland's lead down to one.

The teams battled hard down the stretch, but Doncic couldn't make much difference. He recorded only five points, seven rebounds and three assists in the second half.

The Mavericks' superstar fouled out with three minutes left, with his team trailing by four points.

Luka Doncic has fouled out of the Slovenia-Poland quarterfinal matchup 😳

Luka Doncic finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and six turnovers, shooting only 33% from the floor.

The 3x NBA All-Star was coming off three consecutive 30-point games. So it's fair to assume that his injury did play a part in him not being able to carry his form into the quarter-finals.

Dallas Mavericks need Luka Doncic to stay healthy for upcoming NBA season

The Dallas Mavericks will be concerned about Luka Doncic's health ahead of the upcoming NBA season. Doncic has been in action for the majority of the offseason with the Slovenian national team. He featured in 13 games, playing roughly over 30 minutes per contest.

Doncic has looked in shape during this stretch but has sustained a couple of injuries. Apart from struggling with a back problem in the loss against Poland, the Slovenian also twisted his ankle against Germany three weeks ago.

🇸🇮 Luka Doncic twists his ankle in Munich, but was able to walk it off by himself.Later he did return back to the court 🙏#FIBAWC #WinForAll

He then received stitches on his head against France on September 7. Doncic reportedly missed practice ahead of the game against Poland and had an ice wrap around his ankle.

Luka Doncic sat out practice ahead of the quarter-final game against Poland 👀The Slovenian superstar was spotted with an ice wrap around his…

The Mavericks have been reliant on Luka Doncic for wins almost on a nightly basis. This offseason, Dallas had to see their second-best player, Jalen Brunson, depart in NBA free agency. The team hasn't signed a bonafide All-Star-caliber player to accompany Doncic again.

Dallas have struggled to gain positive results in the former Real Madrid star's absence. That may be the case again.

They will be hoping the 23-year-old rests well following the EuroBasket exit and is 100% healthy entering training camp.

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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