Luka Doncic vs. Dillon Brooks: FIBA World Cup is set for an epic clash

Donatas Urbonas
Senior Staff Writer
2023-09-06 07:00

Luka Doncic is arguably encountering the toughest perimeter defense he has ever faced in FIBA national team competitions as he's preparing to face Dillon Brooks and Canada in the upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 quarterfinal matchup.

Credit: FIBA

Luka Doncic and Dillon Brooks will face each other in one of the most exciting FIBA World Cup 2023 quarterfinal showdowns.

In fact, Luka Doncic could potentially be going up against the best perimeter defense he has ever seen in FIBA national team basketball.

Even well before the World Cup began, with the absence of Vlatko Cancar and Edo Muric, it was evident that Slovenia would heavily rely on Luka Doncic's magic to remain competitive and make it to the knockout stage.

Now, as they face one of the title contenders, Canada, it's becoming increasingly apparent that the defensive prowess of the Canadian roster may push Luka to surpass even his extraordinary abilities.

It feels like calm before the storm in Manila.

Canadian players enjoyed their practice session, grooving to the music on the sidelines, while Luka Doncic and the Slovenian players had fun with an improvised half-court shot contest.

But brace yourselves as we're on the verge of a massive shift from this relaxed atmosphere to the mounting tension that's about to explode at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Canada vs. Slovenia matchup could give us the opportunity to witness the most impressive offensive and defensive performances in FIBA basketball in years.

It's clear that we're not only going to witness a clash of all-around talent but also some personal rivalries, on-court confrontations, and continuous trash talk throughout the entire 40 minutes of the game.

The tension between these two gentlemen has escalated significantly. The last time Luka Doncic and Dillon Brooks were scheduled to go head-to-head on the NBA court was back in March.

However, there were concerns about Luka's availability as he was recovering from a thigh injury.

"I hope Luka gets back for the next game so I can guard him," ESPN's Tim MacMahon quoted Dillon Brooks before the game. "I didn't get a chance to guard him the first game, and he had a great game. So I wanna see where I'm at."

On October 22, Dallas secured a dominant 137-96 victory against the Grizzlies, with Luka Doncic leading the way, scoring 32 points in just 30 minutes. However, Brooks was sidelined for that game due to an injury.

Then, in March, when Doncic didn't show up on the court as the Mavericks decided to sit out him and Kyrie Irving, Brooks took a few shots at the Dallas backcourt stars.

"It goes to show that sometimes they ain't ready to come back to a physical game," the Grizzlies beat reporter Damicheal Cole quoted Brooks.

As the Grizzlies were on their way to securing a victory, Dillon Brooks blew kisses to the Dallas crowd, prompting a chuckle from Luka Doncic.

Last season, Brooks and Doncic ranked in the top 3 for technical fouls in the league.

The two haven't squared off on the court since December 8, 2021.

According to the NBA's matchup tracking data, in a total of 12 minutes and 49 seconds of head-to-head action in two games during the 2020-21 season, Brooks held Luka to a mere 25% shooting accuracy, making just 5 out of 20 attempts and scoring only 16 points.

However, it's not just about the showdown between Dillon Brooks and Luka Doncic.

Off the bench, Canada's head coach, Jordi Fernandez, will have the advantage of deploying another elite perimeter defender, Luguentz Dort, off the bench.

Dort's playing style and personality differ significantly from Brooks', earning him praise from Luka after one of their recent NBA matchups.

"I think he's one of the top 3 defenders in the NBA," Luka praised Dort at the start of the 2022-23 season.

In 53 possessions guarded by Lu Dort in that particular game in October, Luka had 14 points on 4 of 11 shooting, 4 assists, and 3 turnovers.

"It's very hard to play against him," Doncic added.

It's difficult to identify a more formidable defensive challenge that Luka Doncic will face than Canada.

Dillon Brooks earned a spot on the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in the previous season.

His confidence is now skyrocketing, particularly after his clutch 3-pointers and pivotal defensive stops played a crucial role in Canada's thrilling do-or-die victory against Spain.

Although Dort surprisingly wasn't selected for either of the All-Defensive teams, it's evident that such recognition is on the horizon for him.

Luka Doncic currently leads the scoring charts in the FIBA World Cup, averaging 26.4 points per game, shooting 44.2% from the field and 23.8% from the 3-point range.

He and Slovenia face a mammoth challenge against Canada, which boasts one of the tournament's top scorers in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the other side of the floor.

However, FIBA competitions seem to be Luka Doncic's playground. Can we expect another display of Luka Magic tonight?

Slovenia vs. Canada predictions on the URBONUS podcast:


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