The 2013 FIBA Asia tournament tipped off early Thursday morning with a few surprises, chief among them being China's loss to Korea. Not every opening-round game had the fireworks of Bahrain's overtime upset over India -- Hamed Haddadi's Iranian team defeated Malaysia by 90 actual points -- but Friday's games should once again be worth following for those already looking forward to the 2016 Olympics.
Friday's best game will likely take place at 4:45 am ET when Korea and Iran battle for the right to be the best team in Group C. Korea was led by Joo-sung Kim on Thursday when it upset Yi Jianlian's talented China squad, but the Koreans face another tough task Friday morning.
Current NBA free agent Hamed Haddadi scored 21 points and nabbed eight rebounds in just 13 minutes to lead Iran to a 115-25 victory over Malaysia on Thursday. He'll likely have to play a bit more in Friday's contest, though, considering Korea's big men held former comparable players Wang Zhizhi and Yi Jianlian -- in that they've also played center in the NBA, anyway -- to underwhelming performances in their first contest.
Other things to keep an eye on in Friday's overnight action include the following:
- China was the favorite entering the FIBA Asia tournament, but it'll be in big trouble if it can't bounce back against Malaysia following its opening-round loss. That shouldn't be hard considering Malaysia lost by 90 points in the first round, but crazy things can happen when Sun Yue is involved.
- Hong Kong is the only team that didn't play in the opening set of games due to a snafu we detailed in Thursday morning's recap. It'll make its debut against a Japan team that lost by just one point to Qatar in its first game of the tournament. The game doesn't matter since all three teams in Group B will move on anyway, but it'll be fun to see Hong Kong in action anyway.
- Jordan scored 87 points in its first game of the tournament -- the third most of the 14 teams in action -- but ended up on the losing end. Naturalized citizen Jimmy Baxter led his team with a tournament-high 30 points in the loss, but he might need to do even more to get his team into the win column against the basketball-crazy Philippines.
The full schedule for Friday is included below. All times have been converted to ET.
10 p.m. (Thursday) -- China (0-1) vs. Malaysia (0-1) , Group C
12:15 a.m. -- Chinese Taipei (1-0) vs. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (0-1), Group A
2:30 a.m. -- Japan (0-1) vs. Hong Kong (0-0), Group B
4:45 a.m. -- Korea (1-0) vs. Iran (1-0), Group C
5 a.m. -- Kazakhstan (1-0) vs. Bahrain (1-0), Group D
7:30 a.m. -- Jordan (0-1) vs. Philippines (1-0), Group A
9:30 a.m. -- Thailand (0-1) vs. India (0-1), Group D