FIBA Asia 2015 tips off

FIBA Asia 2015The FIBA Asia 2015 Championship has tipped off in China with eight games across Groups A through D on Wednesday, to start nearly two weeks of Basketball festivities in Asia.

It was a good start for reigning champions Iran as they hunt their fourth title in the last five tournaments (stretching back to 2007) with a big win over. India also cruised to success in Group A with a commanding win over in their opener. In Group B Palestine and Hong Kong opened strong with victories to get their tournaments off to perfect starts.

In Group C hosts and 15 time former champions China started with a win and South Korea followed suit with their own success on Wednesday. Two close games emerged from Group D, with Lebanon and Qatar securing tight wins in what promises to be a compact group.

Group A
Iran signaled its intentions to maintain an iron grip on the FIBA Asia 2015 competition with an 86-48 rout of Japan on Day 1. While Japan remained consistent through the game, they were unable to cope with the Iranian offence as the champs opened a 37-22 lead through halftime and then cruised to win the game at the final buzzer. The Japanese were muddled from all distance, shooting 37% from two point range and 29% from downtown, allowing Iran to swamp to win.

India took apart Malaysia 73-102 to open its account and suggest that Group A will be a straight shootout between India and Iran. The Indians carried a 47-32 lead into the long break and picked it up in the second half to win the third act 12-26 and tie the fourth 29-29 for a coasting victory. India were hot off the glass as they took 50 rebounds compared to 35 from Malaysia, with Amjyot Singh propelling the winners with a double-double 24 points and 10 boards.

Group B
Hong Kong found Kuwait’s weakness from the field and run with it to an 87-50 victory on Day 1 of the FIBA Asia 2015 competition. Kuwait could only hit 29% of their efforts inside the arc, whereas Hong Kong shot for 58% at two point distance. Kuwait had started the game well, with a 17-15 run during the first act. Hong Kong responded to win the second frame 9-14 before opening the floodgates in the second half. The winners poured in 58 points during the second half to blitz Kuwait and ease to victory, while Duncan Overbeck doubled up with 13 points and 13 rebounds in the winning effort.

Palestine went on a giant killing missions with a 75-73 win over one of the competitions better teams, the Philippines. It looked as though the game would go to form and history as the Philippines opened the game with a 27-12 first quarter. However, Palestine found inspiration with an 18-28 second stanza and carried the momentum through the second half to edge the game in Q4, courtesy of a 4-20 run in the decisive segment.

Group C
South Korea had far too much class for Jordan as they eased to an 87-60 win during game one. South Korea will be looking to take their impressive shooting from the field through the tournament, with the winners securing 57% of their efforts at two points and an impressive 62% of their three point attempts. Korea started well, using a 19-8 run in the first quarter to cope with losing the second frame 15-19, while going through the gears in the second half on the path to success.

Tournament hosts China are comfortably the winningest nation in the history of this tournament, but despite winning the competition in 2011 the Chinese have had to watch Iran have the glory over the last decade. With home court advantage and a hungry team, the Chinese will be hopeful of bringing the FIBA Asia Championship home again. The home teams nailed Singapore 42-91 and there was a feeling that China did not have to get out of second gear to get this comfortable opening day victory.

Group D
Lebanon won its first Preliminary Round game 92-87 over Chinese Taipei, overwhelming their opponents for long spells but making it nervier at the end than it needed to be. The Lebanese contingent won the first quarter 20-29 but were knocked off course as Taipei won the second frame 21-14 to make it 41-43 through halftime. The third act was the game changer as Lebanon used a 16-26 run to make it 57-69 through thirty minutes, although Taipei caused a scare with a 30-23 charge in the fourth in a spirited effort that made the game close at the final buzzer.

Qatar outthought Kazakhstan to claim a 79-75 win in a close game on Wednesday in China that went to overtime. The teams traded the lead throughout and neither could get out in front because of some pretty awful shooting, with Qatar making 47% from two points distance and 22% from triple range. Kazakhstan was worse with 40% from double and 21% from downtown. The teams locked 71 apiece through regulation, but Qatar edged the overtime period 8-4 to claim a win.

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