Iranian national team does some human bowling

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Iran likes to celebrate with a little bowling. Sure, why not?

For the third year in a row Iran won the Jones Cup — led by Hamed Haddadi, the Memphis Grizzlies center who had 35 points, 18 boards and 7 blocks in the final game. The Jones Cup is an invitational tournament of Asian clubs, where South Korea was second and the Philippines finished third.

When Iran won, they celebrated with a little human bowling. Of course, because when you think Iran you think bowling. Via Haddadi’s twitter account.

Hamed Haddadi held up in Iran with legal issue, still not at Grizzlies camp

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Thumbnail image for hamed_haddadi_iran_memphis_grizzlies.pngOne week in, Hamed Haddadi is still not at Memphis Grizzlies training camp.

He is having legal issues getting out of his native Iran and into the United States, according to the Commercial Appeal (via Ben Maller). Which really should not be a surprise considering the relations between the two countries.

The only public word from Haddadi came in tweet on Sunday saying:

another fresh start for my life…. yek zendegie jadid. I’m so happy!

Haddadi had to push back his basketball camp in Los Angeles (now October 23 and 24). The third-year center is simply missing camp right now but could start missing paychecks if this legal issue drags out into the season.

Haddadi is a reserve 7’2″ center for the Grizzlies, who played in 36 games for the team last season. He is slated to make $1.6 million this season. He is the first Iranian born player in the NBA and he was Iran’s star player at the FIBA World Championships this summer.

USA sleepwalks past Iran 88-51 at World Championships


Thumbnail image for USA_Logo.jpgWell, that was pretty much what we expected — including the part where Kevin Love was the one guy to show up and care.

The USA was going to roll past a clearly less talented Iran team and came out with all the intensity of an intersquad scrimmage. Eventually they got there, winning 88-51 and securing the USA the top spot in Group B at the FIBA World Championships. They face Tunisia tomorrow morning in the final game of group play.

Iran hung around early as the USA’s sluggishness led to a lot of missed shots and turnovers. Iran kept it to a six-point game after one quarter, while the Americans piled up 7 turnovers.

Then the USA started to roll in the second quarter, using their pressure defense to create turnovers and easy transition points, as they have done against every team that could not come close to matching their athleticism. At one point Iran had 21 possessions where they had scored and 20 where they had turned the ball over (according to John Schuhmann of

It was 42-28 at the half and with an 8-0 run to start the third quarter it was all over but the full half of garbage time. Kevin Durant had a dozen for the USA, Derrick Rose 11.

Two guys of note.

Kevin Love led the USA with 13 points — in just 11 minutes of play. He continues to be the best USA big man (starter Lamar Odom had 2 points and 2 rebounds in one of his classic disappearing games). Love defended well, rebounded and was the one USA player who seemed really focused and on his game from the second he stepped on the court.

Why isn’t he getting more minutes? It’s a mystery why Tyson Chandler was off the bench before him. If it wasn’t for wanting continuity, I’d suggest starting Love at this point, but at least he should be getting a lot more minutes than he is now.

The other guy to watch was Memphis’ backup center Hamed Hadadi, who finished with a team high 19 points for Iran but was a real mixed bag. He rarely used his 7’2″ frame to power inside (which he should have done more to Odom) but did show some nice touch from the outside. He can hit the midrange. But his shot choices are questionable and he seems to love the fade away when he should be powering toward the hoop. He can rebound some, too. But he is not mobile.

Basically, he’s a backup center, one that will survive around the league because of his size and touch, but not much else. Used in the right setting he can have some value, but he is not a transcendent player.
Basically, nothing Grizzlies fans didn’t already know.

USA vs. Iran: It's about basketball, not politics


There are political overtones in some international sporting events. You could feel it when Turkey played Greece yesterday — then Greek fans showed up with a banner that said “We are neighbors not enemies.” It was a chance for sport to transcend the political.

Today comes USA vs. Iran, but the Iranians are looking at this as a basketball game, not a political statement.


Grizzlies Hamed Haddadi has impressed at World Championships

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Hamed_Haddadi.jpgThere’s an Iranian player in the NBA, although you’d hardly know it by looking at most Memphis Grizzlies box scores. He played in only 36 games for Memphis last season, and most of his minutes came in garbage time.

But at the FIBA World Championships, Hamed Haddadi is a star.

He has been averaging 22 points, 10 rebounds and almost four blocks a game for Iran so far in the tournament. Heck the 7’2″ center is even 4 of 12 from three. He will be his team’s go-to guy when they take on the USA Thursday.

Haddadi will have a big height advantage going against Lamar Odom, and based on Odom’s recent play, Iran should go right at him. Look for Tyson Chandler and — one can hope — Kevin Love to get their chances against him.

Iran is not going to hang with the USA — they are horribly outmatched from 1 to 12. But Haddadi might open a few eyes in Memphis and earn himself a few more minutes when the NBA season rolls around. Then again, this isn’t Haddadi’s first rodeo; he’s succeeded on the international stage before, but has struggled to find playing time in the NBA nonetheless.