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Olympics: Rui Hachimura shines in another Japan men's basketball loss

Japan' Rui Hachimura (8) scores during a men's basketball preliminary round game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, on July 25, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (Gregory Shamus/Pool Photo via AP)

SAITAMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Rui Hachimura outscored Slovenia's generational talent Luka Doncic on Thursday, but Japan's effort was largely a one-man show as the hosts were demolished 116-81 in their second straight Tokyo Games basketball loss.

    Much like their opening game defeat to Spain, Japan were unable to take advantage of a strong showing from the Washington Wizards forward, with a fourth quarter scoring drought leaving them with a deficit as large as 38 points at one stage.

    Hachimura led all scorers at Saitama Super Arena with 34 points. Japan's other NBA player, Yuta Watanabe, chipped in 17, but apart from a 10-point second and third quarter flurry from bench weapon Makoto Hiejima, Japan got little other offensive production.

    Doncic put up 48 points in his Olympic debut on Monday -- the second-highest single-game total ever at the Olympics -- and against Japan shot 8-for-15 from the floor for his 25 points while distributing seven assists and seven rebounds in almost 26 minutes.

    Zoran Dragic, brother to NBA veteran Goran, provided support with 24 points as the Slovenes improved to two wins from two in their nation's Olympic debut.

    Japan's hopes of reaching the quarterfinals hang in the balance. They need to finish in the top two of Group C, an unlikely outcome, or be one of the best two third-ranked teams.

    They face a veteran Argentina team in their final group game on Sunday and will need to win to have any hope of qualifying.

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