Goran Dragic helps power Slovenia past Spain to advance to EuroBasket championship

MIAMI — Goran Dragic will play for a championship on Sunday.

No, not the NBA championship. Dragic helped power Slovenia to a 92-72 victory over a Spain squad led by Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Ricky Rubio in the EuroBasket semifinals on Thursday to advance to the tournament’s championship game.

Slovenia will face the winner of Friday’s game between Serbia and and Russia in the EuroBasket final Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Goran Dragic and Slovenia advanced to the EuroBasket final Thursday with a victory over Spain. (AP Photo)

Dragic finished Thursday’s contest with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists to help push Slovenia to a perfect 8-0 record in the event. The 31-year-old Heat point guard is averaging a team-high 21.0 points in eight EuroBasket games.

The 6-foot-7 Luka Doncic, who is projected to be one of the top 2018 NBA draft prospects, also turned in a standout performance for Slovenia. Doncic nearly recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.

Slovenia’s deep EuroBasket run means Dragic won’t have much time to rest his body before the start of Heat training camp. Miami will have its media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on Sept. 25 and the first day of training camp is set for Sept. 26, with the regular-season opener set for Oct. 18 against the Magic in Orlando.

This year’s EuroBasket will mark the end of Dragic’s international playing career. He posted on social media in Slovenian last month that he will retire from international play after the event and he has reiterated that decision during the tournament.

This is Dragic’s fifth appearance at EuroBasket. Playing with the Slovenian national team has been a big part of Dragic’s summer routine during his NBA career, as he repeatedly said playing in the EuroBasket qualifiers last summer helped him have a standout 2016-17 season with the Heat.

With just one week separating the EuroBasket final and Heat media day, the hope is that this tournament will help keep Dragic sharp and in shape for the NBA season rather than fatigue Dragic before the NBA season even begins.

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