Giannis returns, spearheads Greek triumph over Dominican Republic – FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2024 Piraeus, Greece

PIRAEUS (Greece) – The Dominican Republic tried their best to spoil the party for 11,648 fans in the stands, but Greece were on another level to start their FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament campaign.

Giannis Antetokounmp, in his first official game with the national team since FIBA EuroBasket 2022, led the hosts to a 109-82 win, meaning Greece are now a step away from securing top spot in Group B. All they need now is a win over Egypt on Thursday.

Turning point

The initial tip. Greece took full control of the game right from the start, storming to a double-digit lead in the first quarter, and never looked back.

Coach Che Garcia wanted a stubborn approach from his team despite the deficit, and he got it, as their three-point shooting allowed Dominican Republic to reduce the gap to 10 points, but they never got close enough to get into single digits and test Greece’s patience.

Once Greece started knocking down their three-pointers, in the second half, it was only a matter of waiting for the final margin.

TCL Player of the Game

Giannis Antetokounmpo had not played an official basketball game for nearly three months. There was no visible rust, his dunk opened up the scoring and every single thing he did on the court in just 18 minutes of work looked like he was at 100 percent.

The Greek superstar finished with 32 points on 11-of-11 shooting from the field, getting an efficiency rating of 34. His single game highlights from this one look like somebody else’s career reel, just an unstoppable force when he’s feeling like this.

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Stats don’t lie

The idea that somebody could hurt Greece is based on gambling with their shot making, with the premise of loading up the painted area with bodies to stop Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The idea falls to pieces if Greece can make their long-range shots, and they did so on Wednesday. They shot 16-of-30 from three-point range, as nine different players knocked down at least one three-pointer.

Bottom line

At 1-1, the Dominican Republic are an inch away from officially joining the Semi-Finals. They put up a fight, were not scared of Giannis’ brutal performance, and their offensive output was more than decent.

Chris Duarte finished with 26 points, Victor Liz and Jean Montero had 12 apiece.

Who do you think is the best player in OQT Greece? Vote now!

Coach Vassilis Spanoulis gave the green light to all of his players to shoot, including the center Georgios Papagiannis popping behind the three-point line and knocking down a pair of threes. This free-shooting Greece was a joy to watch for the home crowd in Piraeus.

Greece now know they would finish first in the group with a win over Egypt on Thursday.

They said

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