Former NBA player Hamed Haddadi put on a show for the in Granada, Spain, but his performance couldn’t get Iran its first 2014 FIBA World Cup victory. Haddadi, coming off a poor performance versus Brazil, scored a game-high 29 points as Iran fell to Serbia 83-70 on Sept. 1.
Haddadi, the first Iranian to play in the NBA, was 10-of-12 field with his only misses coming from beyond the arc. He was 9-of-12 from the charity stripe, hauled in five rebounds and came up with four thefts. Haddadi only tallied four points against Brazil.
Haddadi was a handful for Serbia, specifically in the first half. Haddadi tallied 22 of Iran’s 38 first half points and got NBA free agent Miroslav Raduljica into first half foul trouble.
It was difficult for us (to stop him on one-and-one situation), but especially on two-and-two and pick-and-roll game.” Raduljica said. “The bottom line is that he is a good player… We didn't play good defense on him.”
Radulija decided not worry about not fouling Haddadi in the second half and Serbia took control of the game. Radulijica, who was recently released by the Los Angeles Clippers after being traded by Milwaukee, scored 9 of his 13 points in the third stanza as Serbia took a 67-51 lead into the last period.
Nemanja Bjelica led the way for Serbia with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Phoenix Suns first round selection Bogdan Bogdanovic contributed 16 points, on 7-of-11 shooting. Milos Teodosic chipped in with eight points and nine helpers. Bjelica, whose NBA rights are held by Minnesota, was drafted by the Washington Wizards in the second round of the 2010 draft.
Samad Nikkhah Bahrami was the only other Irian in double-figures and finished with 20 points and seven dimes. Philadelphia 76ers 2013 second round draft choice Arslam Kazemi added six points and four rebounds for Iran.
Serbia (2-1) plays an important game against Brazil on Sept. 3, while someone will get its first World Cup victory as Iraq and Egypt (0-3) battle.