Seattle vs. Houston Game 1
I did get to watch the first half of Tuesday's game, finally. I don't have anything new to add to my original thoughts...except that it was great to see LJ so fired up. Her little turn-around jumper from the angle appears to be back in her repertoire, and boy was she getting every rebound!
I watch most of the two playoff games last night. My DVR cut off the end of the Sun/Shock game since I forgot to extend the recording by 30 minutes, and I fell asleep during the last 4 minutes of game time for the Monarchs/Sparks game.
General Playoff Thoughts
1) Attendance stinks. Where are the fans? No wonder the Storm dominate in Key Arena...the other teams must be wondering what all the noise is, and why there are people sitting in (or standing in front of) the pretty seats. It is embarrassing that these fabulous players don't have people coming out to watch them play. I don't know if it is an advertising/marketing issue or just that people in other cities aren't smart enough to know how much fun these games can be. OK, that is probably harsh and rather Seattle-centric egotism...but seriously...where the heck are the fans???
2) League Parity is a myth. I am sorry, but watching the first four games of the playoffs tells me that after the best 6 teams there is a huge drop in quality/talent. I won't argue that there are talented players on these teams...just that the teams are not very good. I did miss the big LA comeback, but boy...Detroit and LA stunk last night in front of the 8 or 9 people that got lost on their way to the movies and ended up watching the games. Tuesday night I thought all four teams played well and made for interesting games. Last night I felt like I was wasting my time watching the games. I hope that Detroit and LA watch the tape and show up for their respective Game 2's.
Sun vs. Shock Game 1
I don't know what is so great about Deanna Nolan. She is long, athletic and has a gorgeous jump shot, but what else? This Katie Smith lady? Who the heck is she anyway...hobbling back and forth and hurling the ball at the rim (and into the net more often than not)? Cheryl Ford works the backboard like it is dropping cash (actually since she got the rebounding title award, I guess it is) but she couldn't make a shot all night. She needs to work on her back to the basket game...it looked so much better two years ago. I thought this was a defensive team? They forced 4 turnovers and let Connetticut shoot 45% from the field and 40% from 3 point range. This team actually won a championship two years ago? What the heck happened here? 12 turnovers, 2 steals, 14% from three point range? Take a good look at yourself Detroit, you are WAY better than this. I can't believe that Swin's injury impacts you this much as a team. I know she was brilliant, and probably will be again next year, but you are just a better basketball team than this, and have way too much talent to look this bad. You are embarassing yourselves, and I don't know if I can watch you play if this is the path which you have chosen...it is too disappointing.
Lindsey Whalen. Wow. This lady is gutsy. She had this great moment where she drove the lane rammed into Cheryl Ford (I think) and got the lay-up and the foul. The Detroit post player falls down and Lindsey sort of took a step toward her and stared her down. The guard stays upright and the "big" falls down. She has grown up a lot since the finals last year. Look out Storm. Put a red an white turtleneck on Dydek and we can play "Where's Margo?" I haven't seen her play much this year, but she looked liked the same old Margo to me in this game. She comes up big one day and the next you can't find her 7'2" frame on the floor amongst all the 6 footers. I swear I saw an image of an errant 3 ball from the corner and a winning Betty Lennox jumper reflected in Nykesha Sales eyes every time she hit one of those wild shots, particularly that last second three where she shot the ball from her hip. I know where she has her sights set. Look out Betty. I could not see what happened to Katie Douglas...but she did not look good, and that is right where my DVR recording ended. I hope she (the person) is all right...is it ok for me to be thinking that Sue gets more open shots with Douglas sidelined? I hope that Katie is alright...she looked like that really hurt.
Monarchs vs. Sparks Game 1
The Sparks looked so bad for most of this game that I can't believe they ended up so close. Nikki Teasley came in off the bench and seemed to create an emotional lift. She handled the ball well against the Sacramento defense, and she hit a key three pointer. She had some nifty assists, but also threw some of the most foolish passes I have ever seen in a post season game at any level. Nikki, you teamates haven't played with you for months, I doubt anyone but Leslie is expecting your street game passes. I wondered for a while if Kobe Sr. decided to use her to spice the game up a little since he had no hopes of winning. From the final score it looks like Holdsclaw refused to surrender. They look like a team missing a coach and a couple of key pieces. I won't rip into them as much knowing that Mabika and Teasley are gimpy and their coach is basicly a post-it note by ownership that doesn't seem to care that they haven't been champions for a couple of years now...and fell from favorite felled by an eastern conference team in the finals to a #1 seed in the west ousted by the #4 seed, to a .500 #4 seed that only made the playoffs because someone else knocked the better team off in the last game of the season.
Lucky, Lucky, Lucky
We in Seattle are so lucky to have the Storm players, Anne Donovan, Karen Bryant and ownership that knows how to stay out of the way, sit back and enjoy, and let the experts do their jobs.
Seattle vs. Houston Game 2
I am so excited for this game. Key Arena should be electric tonight. I really hope this game has sold well and Seattle can show the rest of the league that we really DO love this team. Lauren Jackson said in her Game 1 postgame interview that we will them to win and thanked us for it. Let's earn that thanks tonight and will them to a 2 game sweep of Round 1 and pay her back with a full week of rest for her sore back.
I don't have much pregame analysis to share today...little has changed from my post on Tuesday. I think they need to do almost exactly what they did on Tuesday in Houston with a few exceptions.
1) JB needs to stay out of foul trouble. She also needs to find the hoop on offense. She had some nifty moves under the basket but failed to finish in Houston. She needs to focus more on get Snow off the block on defense, and she needs to let LJ provide the early help for the guards.
2) Tanisha needs to keep her confidence in her shot. She had a shot in the first half of Game 1 that she should have taken, didn't, and then let Swoopes take the ball away from her.
3) Suzy needs to hit her free throws.
I expect Van to have his players ready for the zone defense that Anne used to put Houston's first half offense in disarray. I would love to see her start the game with some aggressive traps and more man defense, then switch to the zone as a "surprise" tactic when Houston gets comfortable. I think it is best to keep Houston off kilter as much as possible to keep them from getting long offensive runs.
Let's get Key Arena LOUD tonight!!!