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Luka Doncic on why team defenses in Europe are tougher to break than in the NBA

Luka had made similar comments as a rookie when he said, "it's easier to score in the NBA than it is in Europe." He once again based his argument on rules and court size.
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Luka Doncic

After a standout performance in a 88-80 win against Germany, Luka Doncic credited the team effort that secured them a ticket to the second round of the 2022 Eurobasket.

"I think Slovenia happened," Doncic said, praising his teammates after an underwhelming performance in a loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina. "They pushed me. I hadn’t had a good game since being here. So my teammates helped me a lot.”

Tougher defenses in Europe

Luka finished the game against Germany with 36 points -- his highest-scoring game in Eurobasket and second-highest point total for Slovenia after the 48-point outing against Argentina in last year's Olympics. He also finally had an efficient game shooting-wise -- 14-25 from the floor, 6-9 from the free throw line -- and was able to dismantle every defensive scheme the Germans threw at him.

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Still, the level of play the 23-year-old superstar showcased in the tournament thus far hasn't been up to his NBA standard. Doncic himself explained his struggles have everything to do with the way teams are guarding him.

“I think you have better defenders in the NBA obviously. But here in Europe the team defense is more impressive obviously,” the Mavericks' forward said. "Because of the smaller court, you don’t have the three-second violation. So I think the team defense is very important.”

Luka had made similar comments as a rookie when he said, "it's easier to score in the NBA than it is in Europe." He once again based his argument on rules and court size.

Ride the momentum

An NBA court is 94 feet by 50 feet, while the FIBA court is roughly 92 feet by 49 feet. If you've ever played basketball, you know a few feet can make a huge difference. The court is much more open, with more space to operate.

Luka always singles out the defensive three-second violation as the biggest game-changer for European players. The lane in the NBA is wide open, and rim protectors are not allowed to camp in it. It makes driving to the basket so much easier because, most of the time, you are faced with little to no resistance.

Going into the second round of the tournament, Doncic will sure look to ride the momentum of his bounce-back scoring performance against Germany. Assuming he can at least keep the same level of play, Slovenia will continue to be one of the favorites to win it all.

If Doncic takes that next step and starts playing at the level he's showcasing in the NBA, their championship chances go up even more. With one of the best players in the world playing his best basketball, the sky is the limit for the defending champs.

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