Scratchy Iran survive Taipei scare
TIANJIN (FIBA Asia Championship) – Defending champions Iran were scratchy in their plays and rather scattered in their scoring, yet proved better for an enthusiastic Chinese Taipei in a Group B game on Thursday.
Iran won 71-67.
Taipei playing the Championship, by virtue of a wild card entry did give the Iranians quite a scare more often than not.
But when push came to shove, Iran found their saviors in their mainstays and emerged victors.
Memphis Grizzlies centre Hamed EHadadi took a locker-room break early in the second quarter, but thankfully returned without much to worry for Iran coach Veselin Matic.
“Thankfully, it’s nothing to worry. It was just a small scare on his ankle. He is alright,” Matic said.
EHadadi returned a double-double – scoring 19 points and collecting 11 rebounds
Samad Nikkah Bahrami was solidity and composed to keep the team together when in trouble which helped the defending champions scrape through without any opening nightmares.
Samad led the scoring for the game – with 22 points – pulled down seven rebounds, and effected a game-high 11 assists.
“It was the first game and they (Taipei) have never been an easy side,” Samad said.
“I hope we can improve a lot in the way we play as we get along in the tournament,” he added.
Iran looked comfortable only on those occasions when Samad and EHadadi managed to combine, which was rarer than normal.
Taipei, on the other hand, played within themselves and worked hard at both ends of the floor to keep their much fancied rivals on their toes.
Wu Tai-Ho was the leader of the Taipei cause with 16 points, but his efforts went in vain against a more experienced outfit.
Tien Li contributed 15 points.
“We were outdone by their size. We tried our best with our speed, but that doesn’t work all the time,” Taipei coach Chung Kwak-suk said.