Friday, September 28, 2007
Brazil racked up their second win, this one a blowout 104-40 victory over host nation Chile. As fellow Storm Alum Edwards did for Jamaica, so Storm starter Iziane Castro Marques again did for Brazil, leading the team in scoring with 22 Points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. She got help from Jucimara Evangelista Dantas (16 points/6 rebounds/3 steals) and Micaela Martins Jacintho (12 points/2 assists). The rest of Brazil saw every player with a well balanced 5 or more minutes and 3 or more points. Ziomara Morrison Jara (20 points/5 rebounds) and Paola Naranjo Postigo (11 points/4 rebounds) led the way from Chile who turned the ball over 30 times, 18 of them on steals from Brazil's defense.
Cuba beat Canada 75-52 a day after they made the US work for their first tournament victory. Cuba was led by Yamara Amargo Delgado (16 points/2 rebounds/5 assists), Yayma Boulet Peillon (13 points/6 rebounds) and Yakelyn Plutin Tizon (13 points/5 rebounds/2 steals). Canada was led by Tamara Tatham (13 points/3 rebounds) and Amanda Brown (10 points/5 rebounds).
Mexico faced Argentina but the score is not yet available. Given the challenge that Argentina gave Brazil, I will take a guess that the weaker Mexico is now at 0-2 for the tournament.
The US takes on Canada at 13:00 PST today on NBA TV. So far it is looking like the US, Brazil and Cuba are the top teams...we'll have to see how that pans out. If the US were to get sloppy and lose today they would be tied with Canada and possibly Cuba were Cuba to win as well. The top four teams (two from each group) in the primary advance to the semi-finals and the remaining teams battle for positions 5-8 in the tournament.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The US barely held off Cuba for an 85-79 victory. Cuba came prepared and looked in control of the game until the final few minutes when the US tightened up, took the lead and pulled away. Key scoring and defense in the final moments by Candace Parker (21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks), Sue Bird (6 points, 9 assists, 4 steals), Katie Smith (13 points), Diana Taurasi (16 points, 5 rebounds) and Seimone Augustus (9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) enabled the US to pull out the win. The US simply did not look like themselves until the end of that fourth quarter and Cuba responded to each and every run the US made until that final stretch. Everyone got fairly even playing time except Swin Cash (maybe it isn't just Bill Lambier) who did not play, Courtney Paris and WNBA Finals MVP, Cappie Pondexter. Candace Parker looks pretty, dang dominant on both ends of the floor when she gets going. Tennessee has a great chance at another NCAA title if Pat Summitt has the right players around her this season. Particularly impressive play from Yeima Boulet Peillon (17 points, 3 rebounds) and Yakelyn Plutin Tizon (23 points, 10 rebounds) on the Cuban team.
Brazil beat Argentina 72-62 behind 22 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists from Storm starter Iziane Castro Marques, making her the third leading scorer in the tournament. Unlike her former team mate, Simone Edwards, though, Izi had some scoring help with two other players in double figures and two more close to it. Fanciele Aparecida had a double double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Argentina was led by Maria Gimena Landra (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Mariana Andrea Cava (12 points).
The only game yesterday without a current or former Storm player was a blowout 85-54 win by host nation Chile over Mexico. Chile had 5 players in double figures while Mexico had one, Brisa Margarita Silva with 21 points.
Simone will look for more help from her team on the offensive end today when the Jamaicans take on her former Storm team mate Sue Bird and Team USA. The US will look to take control early and build some momentum and consistency. The game will air on NBA TV at 10:30 AM PST. Izi and her Brazilians will face Chile 1:00 PM PST.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Paul Westhead, coach of the WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury, is expected to interview for an assistant coaching position on the PJ Carlisimo's Seattle Sonics staff this week.
The NBA and Clay Bennett are strangely silent as they consider the legal fight that awaits their sneaky, manipulative little wranglings to escape the 40 year relationship between Seattle and the NBA.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Thus begins a long, drawn out court battle that can only be stopped by Bennett selling the team to local ownership or actually MEETING with local officials to discuss a plan.
For the rest of us, it is time to wait and see what Bennett and his cronies do next.
Offensive Rating: 98.19 points per 100 possessions
Points Scored: 2,611 points in the season
% Offensive Rebounds: 30.49% of available offensive rebounds
% 3 point shots taken: 24.19% of shots attempted were three point shots
Free Throws Attempted: 687.42 free thows taken in the season
Phoenix lived up to its "Paul Ball" style and delivered the most points, and the most points per possession, as well as leading the league with regard to what percentage of their field goal attempts were made from beyond the three point arc. They were also the third best team in the league at getting to the free throw line and the best at avoiding turnovers. They were the leagues best offensive team and rode that to the best record in the Western Conference as well as the WNBA championship.
Seattle was next in line, with the Storm following the same trend, though they were a much better offensive rebounding team than Phoenix, though not as extreme in the other categories. They were third in the league at avoiding turnovers.
Detroit took a different path, focusing on controlling the boards and getting to the free throw line.
|Team||Offensive Rating||Points Scored||% Off Rebounds||% 3PT Shots||Free Throws Attempted|
|Phoenix Mercury||105.40||3,025||22.79% (12th)||33.15%(1st)||754 (3rd)|
|Seattle Storm||104.11||2,734||31.13% (5th)||28.91% (3rd)||715 (6th)|
|Detroit Shock||99.87||2,697||32.76% (4th)||19.55% (10th)||785 (2nd)|
|Connecticut Sun||99.38||2,675||29.60% (8th)||24.58% (6th)||615 (10th)|
|Minnesota Lynx||98.95||2,636||33.17% (3rd)||21.06% (8th)||529 (7th)|
Defensive Rating: 97.95 points per 100 possessions
Points Allowed: 2,604 points in the season
FG% Allowed: 41.9% shooting for the season
% Defensive Rebounds: 69.66% of available defensive rebounds
Opponent Turnovers: 564 turnovers in the season
Indiana was the leagues best defensive team, lacking power in only one category, that of defensive rebounding.
Detroit comes next, achieving their rank through leading the charge on the defensive boards and controlling their opponents field goal percentage.
Sacramento controls defense through causing turnovers and limiting pace but was very poor defending the shot and only mediocre on the defensive boards.
|Team||Defensive Rating||Points Allowed||% Def Rebounds||Opp FG%||Opp TOV|
|Indiana Fever||91.07||2,370 (1st)||68.76% (8th)||40.20%(2nd)||610 (2nd)|
|Detroit Shock||94.06||2,540 (5th)||75.08% (1st)||39.60% (1st)||529 (9th)|
|Sacramento Monarchs||95.47||2,480 (2nd)||70.13% (5th)||42.80% (10th)||649 (1st)|
|Connecticut Sun||96.34||2,593 (6th)||72.03% (2nd)||42.10% (6th)||524 (11th)|
|San Antonio Silver Stars||96.58||2,484 (3rd)||67.91% (9th)||42.30% (8th)||583 (4th)|
2006 marked the first WNBA season where the team with the best regular season differential did not take home the WNBA trophy when the Connecticut Sun were eliminated in the Eastern Conference finals leaving the runner up Detroit Shock to take home the title. This year this became a new trend, with major injuries limiting the top two teams in the regular season from performing comparably in the playoffs. Phoenix became the second team to win the WNBA title without leading the league in differential. Had Detroit not suffered injuries to Cheryl Ford and Deanna Nolan the trend may never have been continued.
Without Sheryl Swoopes in Houston or Lisa Leslie and Chamique Holdsclaw in LA, the Comets and the Sparks fall to the bottom of the ladder for the first time in franchise histories.
|San Antonio Silver Stars||+1.28|
|New York Liberty||-3.34|
|Los Angeles Sparks||-6.53|
Friday, September 21, 2007
Now the legal battle begins.
Keep the Storm and the Sonics. Get rid of Bennett!
Chris Van Dyk and Brian Robinson fought on opposites sides of I-91, on the same side of I-93 and now Van Dyk is sharing their formerly best kept secret.
Chris and Brian have been building a consensus plan for how to refurbish Seattle Center, build a new stadium for the Sonics and Storm, leverage the existing "tourist" taxes for hotels and rental cars, the existing sales tax on restaurants and augment it with parking revenue, retail and residiential leases to revitalize what should be a great Seattle treasure. They are still finalizing their summary which should be available soon.
The magic here is that Brian and Chris have found a set of common goals on which to build a foundation for a workable plan that is a win for everyone. They are starting with an antagonistic or adversarial stance, they are starting from a partnership position. They know that they will differ along the way, but they are willing to start from the stuff they agree on rather than focus on where they differ.
That is the way things get done. If you want to see the results of the other path, take a look at the Democratic Legislative Brance trying to get things done against the veto power of the Republican Executive Branch.
When you start from agreement, compromise on differences is possible. When you start with your differences it is a much longer road to find your common ground.
The best thing from my point of view is that more and more Bennett's claim that no one in Seattle is doing anything grows weaker by the day. It is becoming more and more clear that he is the roadblock, not the city. That helps the cause of keeping the teams local more than anything else.
For my part, I am willing to get behind ANY plan that keeps the teams here as long as it is a sound plan. I am simply thrilled to see ideas get out in the public view.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Surprise guest comedians
and Headlined by Seattle’s Own Rod Long
Mainstage opens at 4:00 with our famous $1 Domestics Happy Hour
Show at 7:00, with door prizes, a raffle, show tickets!
Where: Mainstage Comedy and Music Club,
315 - 1st Avenue North, Seattle WA 98109
When: Tuesday, September 18th
Monday, September 17, 2007
The good news is that it is clear that something happened and things look better than they did last week. We'll just have to keep watching.
At the very least, it may indicate forward progress. Someone giddy at a positive step forward may have jumped the gun and leaked a "deal" message. We need to wait for the big media outlets to confirm.
Brian Robinson at SonicsCentral has heard conflicting reports that the previously scheduled Q&A session with the Muckleshoot consultant group scheduled for Monday has been suddenly cancelled and no new conference scheduled to replace it. The Muckleshoots are supposedly denying a deal.
I think we may have to ride this one out folks.
Friday, September 14, 2007
I miss the torrid pace of games one and two, but at least Westphal made the adjustment to playing the half court game in the second half and extended the series. Cappie, I still think you earned ROY last season and you should get MVP if your team pulls out Game 5.
Can I just say, "Thank you Taurasi..." for FINALLY forcing Nolan to her right. I know (even without Doris and Geno reminding us every three seconds) that Tweety is too fast to do it every possession, but this was the one possession the effort needed to be made.
I am sick of Bill's whining, and I still can't get enough of it. The man is a master. You really do enjoy hating him and yelling at him through the TV screen.
My favorite moment is still the Snell shot in the first half where Westhead (for the first time in history) told her not to shoot and pass it back and she just let loose and hit a three. Sorry, Paul...you can't change something you worked so hard to program into them.
The loss of Ford is devastating. I want Phoenix to win...but I want them to do it by beating Ford as well. No player in the league has EVER rebounded like she does and now she can shoot the ball too. She will be league MVP some day...it is inevitable. The look on Karl's face when she went down was one many of us shared.
On to Game 5....you think they make more 5 game series next season with the current ratings? Rumor is last night got near NBA Finals ratings.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
My son on the other hand, has apparently got them already. He grabbed the newspaper away from his mother this morning and demanded to see LJ. She tried to explain to him that she wasn't in the paper anymore since she isn't playing and he stomped his foot and said I want to see LJ and Sue and Betty!
Fortunately I had the answer and pulled up the official end of year slideshow from the Storm homepage. He was satisfied after naming his favorite players and making comments like..."oooh, Sue looks mad....LJ is silly....look, look Betty!" Hopefully that will hold him over for a while.
Slade Gorton has gotten involved in the battle to keep the teams here locally. I'm not a big fan of the man's politics, I voted to oust him from office, but I like the celebrity involvement. I am glad to see the local pols gearing up for a fight. It has been a lonely year. I have to give a ton of credit again to the Steve Pyeatt and Brian Robinson for their excellent work mobilizing the city and other resources to get involved. Please show your support for their efforts...you may not care for the NBA or the Sonics, but they have been committed to keeping the Storm in all the discussions and treating this as a basketball issue, not an NBA issue.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I doubt it has anything to do with this week's ordinance passing, more likely it is about Clay's desire to open 2008 with the Sonics in Oklahoma, not the Storm. Hopefully he falls asleep at the wheel and KB can book the Key for next season in time for the WNBA to do their scheduling.
Today he shares his own take and another NBA fan's take on the finals and how surprised he was to find himself enjoying it.
My only comment is that we need the man to meet LJ and get him off the Catchings bandwagon.
As for the Detroit blogger, the best part is reading the supportive comments from Pistons fans "confessing" their new admiration of the Shock.
Obviously I am disappointed in the final score of the game, but it is hard to be disappointed in the overall game itself.
This WNBA finals is, like last year, proving to be a coaching battle extraordinaire. Each game is showing savvy adjustments by the coach whose team lost the last game. The key difference in this year over last is the battle of will ON the court. Last year one team or the other was in clear control in any given game based on the coaching choices. This year the coaches are just giving their team an edge and it is the will of the players that leverages that edge. Phoenix will not go down easy. When Lambier wins the coaching battle the game remains close. When Westphal wins the coaching battle, Phoenix takes over the game.
Katie Smith found her stroke finally and her play made the difference. Somehow she kept up her tireless defense while suddenly finding the ability to hit any shot she wanted. I give game three to Smith and Lambier. That tandem decided the match, though if Phoenix had been able to have a few more of their shots fall it wouldn't have mattered.
Game 4 is going to be a blistering, desert battle. Enjoy!
Monday, September 10, 2007
AN ORDINANCE stating the City Council's intent not to propose or to enact any
ordinance that would have the effect of approving any amendment to the Premises
Use & Occupancy Agreement between the City of Seattle and the Professional
Basketball Club, L.L.C. allowing the Seattle SuperSonics to vacate the KeyArena
prior to September 30, 2010.
As the Seattle Times states, this is symbolic at most, an attempt by the City to be heard, loud and clear, by the NBA and Clay Bennett in particular, when they say they will not let these teams leave without a fight.
Think the FBI investigation into Tim Donaghy is a pain in your neck, David Stern? How will a lawsuit from the state of Washington over breach of contract feel? How many new stadiums are you going to get for your owners when you prove that you couldn't care less about the "communities" of which your teams are a part? How many cities are going to cough up hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for worthless lease agreements you will break whenever you want by using small but eager mid-market cities with open checkbooks to bully cities into giving you whatever you want? Your league is in a mess. Be the big man, step in and fix this problem...NOW. Henry Abbott over at TrueHoop on ESPN.com is right, honesty is important and it is about time we started getting some from you and the rest of the NBA.
Brian Robinson and Steve Pyeatt have put enoromous personal effort and money into making this happen. They are true fans of basketball and true neighbors to us all. Thanks guys.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
I was in the men's room of a sports bar down in Magnolia at the Elliott Bay Marina last night. I was washing my son's hands while chatting to a friend helping his daughter. He asked about LJ winning the MVP and I said how it was impossible for her not to given that she led the league in scoring, rebounding and missed the blocks title by a mere 3 blocks. Another guy we did not know was at the sink and turns to me saying...
"She led in points, rebounds and almost blocks? That is ridiculous." He was obviously impressed. I almost quipped, "yeah, catch her play live next season..." then I remembered they might not be here. Sigh.
Thank you, Ms. Taurasi, for responding like we all hoped you would. You were fantastic. And by the way, if you and Baron Davis do combine DNA for the worlds greatest PG battle with Sue Bird and Magic Johnson's genetic offspring I want to be his/her agent. Heck I'll take either kid in that matchup.
Is this the highest scoring WNBA finals in history?
Hey, Phoenix, after watching two days of "Detroit" basketball, do me a favor and show the league and the national television audience how a REAL city supports its team in a CHAMPIONSHIP GAME! Come on. Game one looked like 3,000 people. Game two looked better, but folks, really. In 2004 all three games, one in Connecticut and two in Seattle, were sold out. There was not an empty seat in Key Arena for either game. I know Phoenix can represent. Fill those seats. The air conditioning there can handle the heat from those hot Mercury shooters, believe me.
I think the editors at the Seattle Times are reading my blog.
From the sports editorial page today...
Jackson is like family. Storm regulars talk about how they have watched her grow and mature as a player. And Jackson has always made it clear she has made Seattle her home, and wants to keep playing here. The connection between Storm fans and the team, and with Jackson, is strong and personal.
I am so glad someone else has noticed AND bothered to write about it. She is family. She is like the little sister I never had (mine is 16 years older than me) who would have been way taller than me and probably beat me up when I told her that Marilyn Manson was lame. Maybe I am glad she wasn't my sister. She would have beat me at basketball all the time, too from the time she was like ten and was already as tall as me at 19. Sigh. Maybe my jump shot would be better, though, my buddy John could never guard me and my brother was almost 6'9" so he couldn't really play with me. He could guard my three point shot from the foul line. If he hadn't gotten so heavy in his last years he would have had a speed advantage over me as well. I mostly played point and just passed him the ball near the basket. There wasn't really anyone at the playground who could guard him down low at 6'8"+ and 380 lbs. Boy...I am rambling today. Too much dim sum.
Friday, September 07, 2007
I like Katie Smith. I like Deanna Nolan, heck I even like Bill Lambier. I LOVE Cheryl Ford.
I just don't like the Detroit Shock.
I loved the Shock in 2003 when they unseated the LA Sparks and stopped Lisa Leslie's attempt at a three-peat and establishment of the second WNBA dynasty. I was thrilled for them. Unfortunately, with Lisa out, they are the new LA. They are the team you love to hate.
I am ticked at Diana Taurasi for letting the game and the refs get to her in game one. No matter how the game is called, Diana brought the trouble on herself. She is so much smarter than she behaved that night. She controlled her fourth, fifth and sixth fouls, not the referees. She knew they were going to make those calls, she was in control. After all the talk about wanting to follow Lebron James' example in his first finals this year she was the anti-Lebron. He channeled his frustration into passion and stepped up his game. She allowed it to erode hers. The only thing they may end up with in common is a lost opportunity.
On a nicer note. LJ finally won the MVP officially. We already knew it, but it was a real treat to see her sitting courtside with Tully having so much fun. I was very happy for her.
Kevin Pelton interviewed her and got this little tidbit...
Seattle's definitely been wonderful for me. I love it there. It's been fantastic to me. The city itself, it couldn't be better. I'll raise my family there if I ever have one. The fans have been so passionate and have supported me throughout my career. My relationship with Seattle and the people there, it's never been better and every year it gets stronger.
Can you imagine a pack of little LJ's running around splashing in the International fountain? I, for one, am honored that she thinks so highly of our city. I chose it as the place I wanted to raise my family, too.
Do our local politicians and community members realize what they have in this woman? Do they realize what an ambassador she is for our city? Here is a person from across the world who LOVES her homeland, but she would choose Seattle as the place to raise her family. She is perhaps the best female basketball player in the world and she has completely adopted our city over all the others she has visited and played for. On top of that she raves about our city to everyone who asks in the media. What other pro athlete has done that for us lately? Were any of them at the top of their sport with multiple MVP awards and a league championship under their belt? LJ and her Australian team may knock the USA off at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but she still would want to raise her family here in our city.
Watch what she had to say when interviewed at halftime on ESPN...
Do you really want to let someone that special be sullied by owners from out of town who don't seem to care in the least about our city? The movers and shakers of this city need to get off their backsides and put together local ownership and a plan for where these teams will play in the next few years. They need to do it now. We don't need quiet, backroom meetings. We need people in the media making noise. We need someone telling David Stern that we care and that we know we can come up with a solution. They need to say flat out that Clay Bennett is the problem. They need to say that they can't negotiate with someone who won't sit down at the table with them. We need some action. Get to it folks.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
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.