Saturday, September 01, 2007

Conference Finals

The 2007 WNBA Conference Finals have each logged a game and they continue the trend this post-season of highly competitive and exciting games. Phoenix is the only team to win on the road and the only undefeated team so far this post-season. There are those that would dispute their right to that status since their win on Friday in San Antonio was off last second free throws awarded on a questionable call by referee Lisa Mattingly. I would have liked to see the players decide such a closely fought game in overtime. Detroit and Indiana showed the opposite end of the spectrum from the furious pace in the Western Conference by playing a defensive battle. In the West it is about who gets to 100 first. In the East it is about who gets to 60 first.

Outside of enduring the Storm's third first round loss in a row, I have really enjoyed the playoffs this year. Watching the two conference finals series, I can't see Indiana beating Phoenix or San Antonio, but I can't see Detroit beating Indiana. Outside of last minute gaffes in game 1, Phoenix has looked unstoppable in the post season. Everyone on that team is playing fantastic basketball. If they reign in their last minute sloppiness they will cruise to brininging Phoenix's first basketball title. The NBA's Sun have gotten to the finals twice, in 1993 and 1976 but were beaten by Dynasty teams like the Bulls in the 90's and the Celtics in the 70's. Detroit has only won two championships, though a third would make a the term dynasty possible for the WNBA who has only one team (Houston) with more than two championships. That would give them 27% of the available WNBA titles. If Detroit played their best basketball they might have a chance against Phoenix, but Indiana simply doesn't have the offense to win against the Mercury. Detroit isn't playing their best basketball right now. They have played solid defense so far but their offense has been spotty with only two players showing up offensively in any given game. If they want to beat Indiana then Pierson, Nolan, Smith and Ford will have to come up big and they will need better performances out of Braxton, Feenstra, Johnson and Latta.

On a humorous note, Connor was watching the first half of the Shock/Fever game with me last night and suddenly says, "Dada, do some people think this is a fighting game? Cause they are fighting." Out of the mouths of babes indeed. The intensity of these playoffs is high. I told him that Tully and Sheri were LJ's friends and he said, "So the blue team is evil. Go white team!"

The Storm sent a "Thank You" from Lauren Jackson. She calls Seattle "the only place to play." I say thank you to LJ and the team for giving us something worth cheering for.

There is a lot moving on the Clay Bennett vs. the Real World front as well. My big concern is that Clay has something else up his sleeve and I don't have a hint of what it might be. We have a few tricks up our sleeve as well, but I would rather have some more insight into what he is planning next.

NBA fans have started creating internet banner graphics supporting Seattle. You can see one at the top of this page. There is solidarity among fans that these mid-market teams should not be allowed to over pay for big city teams. It makes it impossible for major cities to have fair negotiations with the teams. I think expansion is a bettter answer than letting these smaller cities be used as leverage by teams to blackmail larger cities into giving up whatever the teams want. Stern says that teams are integral parts of the community but they come off as pure opportunistic bullies every few years with new demands and hints of moving to other cities who "want" them around. A line has to be drawn somewhere. Legally binding leases must be honored. Cities have agreed to build or remodel facilities for these teams under the belief that teams will stick around for 10, 15 or 20 years as stipulated in lease agreements. If the courts let teams get out of those agreements then that belief vanishes. If Clay gets to leave Seattle then Sacramento and Orlando better make sure that they find new ways to write leases so that it doesn't happen to them, too.

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