China got off to a rough start in the preliminary rounds of the FIBA Asia Championships, but they have seemingly found themselves in the second round. After losing two of three games to start, China has defeated Kazakhstan and India by a combined score of 152-112.
The Chinese have held their second-round opponents to just 36 percent shooting. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of China's last two wins has been the fact that they've won without their best player on the floor, Jianlian YI.
It was the fourth-straight game Yi has missed, but his teammates have taken up the slack. Peng Zhou had 17 points off the bench against Kazakhstan and Zhizhi Wang had 18 points in the rout of India.
Yi can be ready for the knockout games, so the team could be ready to peak at the right time. China faces Bahrain on Wednesday.
Other Dominant Teams in FIBA Asia 2013
Which team has the best chance to finish first at FIBA Asia 2013?
No nation has looked as strong as Iran. After smashing India by 46 points in their second-round opener, Hamed Haddadi and Co. routed Bahrain 75-56.
There is no way to discuss the Iranians strong play without acknowledging Haddadi. He has averaged 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and blocked nine shots in five games.
Frankly, his numbers would probably be even more gaudy if Iran hadn't been blowing out the competition. This team may not lose a game throughout the tournament.
Next up for Iran is Kazakhstan.
The only other undefeated team remaining besides Iran is Chinese Taipei. They haven't manhandled teams the way Iran has, but a win is a win.
On Tuesday, Chinese Taipei nipped Japan 79-76 behind 19 points from Wen-Teng Tseng. The team also held a 44-33 rebounding edge. In the second-round opener, Chinese Taipei made 14-of-27 of its three-point shots.
Finding multiple ways to win is the sign of a solid team. Chinese Taipei has done that thus far and they will have to continue to be resourceful if they hope to defeat Qatar on Wednesday and remain unbeaten.
Follow me for hoops news, results and spirited opinions.