National Basketball Team Beats Kazakhstan 75-54

Iran next faces Iraq on Sunday and the players will have vengeance foremost on their minds when they do so as Iran accepted an unbelievable defeat against the neighboring country last November
Iran national basketball team
Iran national basketball team

Iran national basketball team passed over Kazakhstan in the series of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers in Astana, Kazakhstan, February 22.

Seasoned veterans Hamed Haddadi and Samad Nikkhah-Bahrami teamed up to lead Iran in their convincing win over Kazakhstan in the second window, FIBA reported on its website.

Haddadi had a whale of a game, scoring 20 points, grabbing 20 rebounds, handing out five assists, getting two steals and blocking two shots. Bahrami, meanwhile, added 21 points and made eight assists. The Kazakhs were led by 18 points from Rustam Murzagaliev.

Kazakhstan stuck close to Iran for an entire half, but Iran national team dominated in the last two quarters to eventually notch their second win of the Asian Qualifiers, 75-54.

Coach Mehran Shahintab was generally happy with how his team played, especially considering the short amount of time they had to train together.

“We only had 5-6 practice sessions because many players just came last week,” he said. “We stressed more on the importance of good defense. We knew that we would be so-so in offense, but I think we adapted ourselves well to both the gym and the game.”

Iran next faces Iraq on Sunday and the players will have vengeance foremost on their minds when they do so. Iran faced Iraq last November and accepted an unbelievable defeat against the team by finishing the game 74-66 at Prince Hamza Arena of Amman, Jordan.

Iranians held the control of the game in the first quarter of the foretold match but Iraqis took the lead in the second quarter; Iran made efforts in the third quarter again and scored more than the other side but yet again in the last quarter Iraqis pushed forward and imposed the loss on Iran.

The win over Kazakhs as well as having Haddadi and Nikkhah-Bahrami back in team after a while will revive the spirit of the team for the clash against Iraq on Saturday at Azadi Sports Complex Arena in Tehran.

Kazakhstan will try to bounce back on Sunday as well when the team hosts Qatar, which just earned first win after besting Iraq.

 Happy to Be Back

At the end of 2015, many say though Samad Nikkhah Bahrami retired from the Iran national team, but he is ecstatic to finally rejoin the team this year.

Bahrami had been a fixture of the Iran side before he seemingly ended his international playing days after the FIBA Asia Cup 2015 in Changsha-Hunan, China. He was there in the team’s heyday, when they won three Asia Cups from 2007 to 2013 and qualified to the 2010 and 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cups.

He missed the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016, FIBA Asia Cup 2017 and the Asian Qualifiers first window, but he returned to action on Thursday and turned back the clock with another fine performance.

“I missed playing for Iran, and I want to finish my career at the national team in a better way,” he said. “I am happy that I have this opportunity again, and I had a really fun experience with the team.”

Against erstwhile undefeated Kazakhstan, Bahrami was his old reliable self, scoring 21 points and handing out eight assists.

“Before the game, we new Kazakhstan was one of the best teams in our group, and we would have a tough game, especially because they were playing on their home court,” Bahrami explained. “We didn’t have good rhythm in the first half because we didn’t have a lot of practices, but we have very good players and our coaches worked hard especially on our defensive plays. I think we were very consistent and played good defense game for the whole game.”

With Bahrami back in the fold, the Iran squad in the second window looks a lot sharper than before and seeks victory from Sunday’s match against Iraq, when the team tries to get payback as well as extend winning streak to three games.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints