Sunday, June 10, 2007

6-10 Storm vs. Lynx

In addition to being required to play lego knights where I am the red lego horse, Star Wars where I am Darth Vader, and various other imaginary games I am now required to be Coach Donovan, my wife is Sue Bird and Connor is LJ. Since we woke up this morning I have been required to take care of LJ who has a hurt chin and is emotionally unsure of her ability to continue to play basketball at a high enough level to win games.

On to last night's game. It was good to get a win. It was even better to see Izi and Katie hold Seimone Augustus to 13 points without letting either of the other perimeter players really take off. Seimone had her moments, but for the most part she was held in check. LJ was fantastic and JB started a return to form in the second half of the game.

First Quarter

The Storm started off strong until something happened with LJ as Coach Donovan pulled her at the 8:03 mark in the game. Jayda Evans says she was tipped that this was a subtle reminder to LJ to execute the game plan. Whatever it was, the Storm went on a -8 run as Palmer, Robinson and Burse tried to manage the post over the next 6 minutes. LJ returned to the lineup to recover half of that by the time the buzzer sounded.

Second Quarter

The Storm controlled the entire second quarter, making their strongest push midway through the quarter with a +11 run with Palmer at the center position and either Lennox or Gearlds at the shooting guard slot. The team struggled when Wendy sat and JB returned giving up a -4 run in the last 3 minutes of the quarter but still managed to take an 11 point lead into the half. Of special note is the success of Tanisha Wright in this quarter, she ran the offense for the first two minutes of the quarter and also played a little at the two with Sue and the Storm were +2 over this cycle which is key to the Storm's success this season. They can't survive huge drops while T is running the offense. Holding serve is acceptable, gains are outstanding.

Third Quarter

The Storm surged to start the third with bursts of +5 and +6 bracketing a 2 minute -1 span and held serve the remainder of the quarter using their core of Bird, Lennox, Gearlds, Castro, Jackson, Palmer and Burse.

Fourth Quarter

With the game pretty much in hand, Coach Donovan let Tanisha run the offense again to start the fourth. This worked fine until she sat JB down after a solid third quarter and fourth quarter effort. She decided to rest Wendy and put Robinson in the lineup. The Lynx were able to make a push and the Storm gave up a -4 run. With Bird back in charge the lineup was able to regain control and take back what they had given up plus a little change. Anne turned things over to the bench who struggled against Minnesota's reserves at first, but seemed much tighter to close the quarter. This bench group just hasn't settled into their roles as of yet. Of particular note here is Katie Gearlds decision to pass up a good look at a three to Sue Bird who had an even better look and knocked it down. That shows me that she is finding her way in the system. Give the stars the looks when they are open and take the looks from them when they give them to you. I would like to see her be more demanding when the starters are sitting, however, since she becomes the best scoring option.

Random Thoughts

Seimone Augustus is REALLY long, and she has great court vision. She is able to pass so well in such a misleading way. She looks like she is taking another shot and the ball just shoots to an open player. If the Lynx ever surround her with capable shooters or finishers, the team will be quite good.

Lindsey Harding looks out of sorts. She has no confidence out there.

Nicole Ohlde usually beats up on LJ in the Key, but LJ had her number tonight. LJ is already playing like an MVP. I haven't seen her play like this since 2003.

The Lynx bench really tried to keep the starters going in the beginning of the game. They were up cheering every play, but by the second half they were all drained with the heads in their hands. They need to find their confidence, it is going to be a long season.

Best Shooters

PlayerFloor %eFG%
Janell Burse73%75%
Lauren Jackson67%90%
Katie Gearlds58%63%
Iziane Castro Marques58%43%
Sue Bird49%56%

Best Individual Rating

Lauren Jackson155.65
Janell Burse128.64
Katie Gearlds125.77
Iziane Castro Marques107.67
Sue Bird106.97

Best Plus/Minus

Lauren Jackson+25
Sue Bird+22
Iziane Castro Marques+18

Most Effective Lineups

Bird-Lennox-Castro-Jackson-Burse: +10
Bird-Gearlds-Castro-Jackson-Palmer: +7
Bird-Gearlds-Castro-Jackson-Burse: +6
Bird-Lennox-Gearlds-Jackson-Robinson: +6


norwester said...

Your little Connor anecdotes are priceless! They really bring the game analysis and importance we all place on this sport into an amusing perspective. And it's entertaining also to have Coach, Sue and LJ placed on the level of action heroes. Thanks for the blog.

Patrick said...

Thanks, but we need to get to that Friday home game to generate some new drama. The whole LJ chin thing is still in play as today I had to be Svetlana Abrosimova so LJ could bang her chin on my head again.