2009-08-11 RP Loses To Iran, 88-78

‘Statistics’
* At the half, the Iranians had a seventeen point lead, hitting 65% percent of their two-point shots, while we hit only 38%; Rebounds was surprisingly close, Iran only had five more at 20 to 15. They did have 10 more assists, and five more steals, 7 to 2. They shot very well from the three-point area, hitting 44% of their shots to our 39%.

‘The Iranian National Team’
* Ehaddadi has a live contract with the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA until 2013. He was just incredible in this game, changing shots, blocking shots, intimidating everybody who tried to score in the lane.

* On offense, nothing fancy inside the paint, just catch the ball, keep it up over his head, spin around if necessary, and then just shoot the ball in, knowing there was nobody in our team who could block or intimidate his shot. His percentage in the first half was very high, he almost didn’t miss when he takes a shot inside the paint. It was sure two points when he got the ball in that area. He had 17 points, and 8 rebounds at the half.

* He also has a nice finesse game, though, hitting a couple of fadeaway shots from the perimeter, as if he needed to fadeaway since nobody from the team could block his shots. But it just shows the level of skill this guy has as a big man.

* One thing about this Iranian team, is that it is not only tall, but also fast. They attacking the basket almost on every fastbreak opportunity. They were able to finish a couple of fastbreak plays, putting a lot of pressure on us to keep up with them defensively. It seems a lot of our fouls in the first half came from trying to stop fastbreak opportunities from the other team. On the other hand, I couldn’t remember us making a lot of fastbreak plays in that period because they were able to keep up with us when we tried to run.

* Not only could this team run and own the paint, they also were hitting their three-point shots well. They had all advantages on offense.

* Another big problem for us was Nikkah Bahrami. 6’5″-6’6″, the guy was either too quick, too tall, or too skilled for whoever was defending him. He was either driving strong to the basket from the top of the key, posting up, or taking an outside shot. A multi-dimensional player on offense, he could do it all.

* Based on what I have seen, this Iranian team definitely has got what it takes to challenge China’s dominance in Asia in the years to come. Its not just a one man team in Ehaddadi, although he is a huge factor of the team’s success, but they have everything in place, they can do almost anything out there on the floor.

‘The RP National Team’
* I felt that we were running our half-court offense pretty well in the first few minutes of play, nice ball rotation, nice penetrations, but the problem was that when we tried to go inside the paint to score, Ehaddadi was there to intimidate our shots. We had a lot of nice penetrations, but the players end up hurrying their shots and looping them higher than usual because Ehaddadi was there to intimidate them. So we end up missing our shots, or kicking the ball out.

* As a result, we ended up with very little options on offense in the first half against this team, but to shoot from the perimeter, or from the three-point area. We had trouble scoring in the paint, and we couldn’t score off them on fastbreak plays. We were literally reduced to an outside-shooting team in this game.

* I felt we really have no chance of winning this game. When your team is reduced to taking outside shots as its only option on offense, you know you’re going to lose. In fact, we never led except at 0-4, and from there it was Iran all throughout the game.

* I do get the impression that Yeng intentionally tried to slow break against this team in the first half, because going on a fastbreak will cause more turnovers which the opponents could exploit. And it worked, our turnovers in this game was minimal. But on the other hand, I felt it also took away one avenue from which we can score with, and that is the fastbreak plays.

* We did manage to start running a bit in the second half, scoring on a couple of fast break plays to vary somewhat our offense, but it wasn’t enough, the Iranians eventually started clamping down on our fastbreak plays too.

* We were behind by 18 points at the end of the third quarter, but the Iranians sort of relaxed and eventually we were able to cut it down to ten at the end of the game. I’m proud of how the team played in this game, though. They really tried to win, they never gave up, especially in the fourth quarter when Iran started to relax a bit, but the better team just won in the end.

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