BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Within the battle of two back-to-back NBA MVPs, it was Nikola Jokic who prevailed over Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Jokic’s Serbia needed to combat exhausting for a 100-94 extra time victory towards Antetokounmpo’s Greece in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday evening in entrance of a 20,000 residence crowd.
“Very exhausting and fascinating recreation,” Jokic stated afterward. “Because of our followers. They have been our sixth participant.”
When Jokic final 12 months refused to play for the Serbian nationwide group he rapidly turned from a nationwide hero right into a villain. The match Thursday marked his return to reputation.
The 2 NBA superstars had a protracted chat on courtroom through the pre-game warmup with good-natured exchanges through the recreation itself.
Tennis nice Novak Djokovic was among the many spectators. Each Jokic and Antetokounmpo spoke briefly to Djokovic who on Thursday introduced he is not going to play within the U.S. Open as a result of he isn’t vaccinated towards COVID-19 and thus shouldn’t be allowed to journey to america.
Jokic scored two consecutive baskets in extra time to offer Serbia a six-point lead (95-89) with 2:57 left. Jokic additionally scored a powerful 3-pointer over Antetokounmpo within the last minutes of normal time.
Antetokounmpo had a profession excessive for the Greek nationwide group with 40 factors. Jokic scored 29.
Serbia faces Turkey and Greece takes on Belgium of their subsequent World Cup qualifiers.
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