Monday, June 02, 2008

Game Six: Storm vs. Comets 1 June, 2008

Before I talk about the game, let me just say that this year's Storm Dance Troupe is fantastic. The kids are great dancers (in the past there has been a real mix of talent) and the new choreography is great. The numbers are playing to the strengths of the whole troupe, they are exciting and they are well executed. This has been the best work by the dancers in the six years I have been attending games regularly.

Ok, back to the ugly, frustrating and difficult experience that was last night's game. There will always be games like this. Tonight was a combination of a struggling team that tends to foul paired with officials who are fond of blowing the whistle. I must say that the game was definitely consistently inconsistent. Fouls were called on either team that were not called the same way for the other team. I did lose my temper at one point and holler out, "If you got it right the first time you wouldn't need the blatant make-up call!" Teams have to adapt and deal with those type of circumstances, but it does not make the game much fun for the players or the fans.

Tina Thompson knows LJ too well, and LJ was well guarded individually and by the team. The whole focus of Houston's defense was to shut Lauren down, and they really succeeded. Lauren has reached double figures in all but a few career games in the WNBA. I don't believe more than a small percentage of those turned into wins for the Storm. They have won games without her playing, but to have her play significant minutes without scoring and still win the game is a major accomplishment for this team.

My eldest son, the basketball hater, came to the game last night (his second of the season) and brought two friends with him. My little guy decided to stay home with an exhausted mother. The three boys had a blast, and were standing, cheering and chanting at various times during the game. The oldest of the three actually went on the court for the train. Hopefully Eamon is learning to enjoy basketball games a little more than in the past.


STORM
MOST EFFECTIVE SHOOTERS

Player

True Shooting %

Eff FG%

Floor %

Wright

61%

56%

52%

Cash

55%

45%

56%

Bird

46%

38%

44%

Griffith

44%

0%

54%



Whatever has happened between Tanisha Wright, Coach Agler and the team is fantastic. She is playing the best, most consistent stint of WNBA basketball of her career. Keep it up T, you are re-earning the Tenacious Tanisha nickname I gave you in your rookie season. Swin Cash is the top vote getter in this week's poll, and she continues to be the Storm's most consistent player. Her ability to score in various ways and find ways to put points on the board is invaluable to this team. In my opinion, those two players won this game for the team.

BEST RATINGS

PlayerOffensive RatingIndividual Rating
Wright

107.80

94.96

Cash

106.96

91.15

Ely

100.27

76.73

Griffith

92.67

72.46

Sue Bird started the game scoring but her offense dwindled off in the second half, she did earn a strong individual rating, however coming in third with a 90.66.


RAW PLUS/MINUS
Wright: +9
Ely: +6
Griffith: +4
Beck: +2
Cash: 0
Bird: -1
Jackson: -1
Gearlds: -2
Robinson: -4
Swoopes: -8

Sheryl really struggled, and she did not play after the 2:43 mark of the third quarter. Wright was spectacular and made things happen at both ends of the floor proving she deserves her roster spot, and perhaps also that she belongs at the 2 guard spot. While she handled the ball on various possessions, she was always on the court with true point guards, either Bird or Beck.

MOST EFFECTIVE LINEUPS
Bird-Wright-Cash-Jackson-Griffith: +7
Bird-Wright-Gearlds-Cash-Jackson: +3
Beck-Wright-Swoopes-Ely-Jackson: +2
Beck-Wright-Cash-Jackson-Robinson: +2

Again, we saw some truly unusual lineups, with the real stinker being the -5 performance of Beck-Wright-Swoopes-Jackson-Robinson.


Comets
MOST EFFECTIVE SHOOTERS

PlayerTrue Shooting %Eff FG%Floor%
Johnson

72%

65%%

69%

Williams

64%

67%

60%

Thompson

55%

50%

46%

Maiga-Ba

51%

43%

53%

Rookie Mate Ajavon made things happen, getting 10 free throw attempts, but she was a miserable 1 for 8 from the field.

BEST RATINGS

PlayerOffensive RatingIndiv Rating
Johnson175.03143.89
Williams

117.07

98.54
Maiga-Ba112.2885.94
Thompson91.5078.85

Thompson and Ajavon were close on offense rating, with Ajavon having an edge, but Thompson was 9 points better on Individual rating forcing her off the list.


RAW PLUS/MINUS
Ajavon: +10
Williams: +4
Shields: +1
Johnson: +1
Lyttle: 0
Holmes: -2
White: -3
Thompson: -3
Maiga-Ba: -4

Here is where the rookie difference is made. While she shot poorly, the team was simply better by a significant margin when Ajavon was on the floor. In fact, the Comets lost this game during the fourth quarter when they went -6 after Dixon came in for Ajavon at the 8:26 mark until Ajavon replaced Maiga-Ba at the 4:39 mark. We can point to last minute luck, and veteran experience, but the lineup analysis shows clearly that the Comets played better as soon as Ajavon subbed in and worse after she subbed out.

MOST EFFECTIVE LINEUPS

Johnson-Ajavon-Maiga^Ba-Thompson-Williams: +7
Johnson-Dixon-Ajavon-Thompson-Snow: +3
Johnson-Shields-Ajavon-Williams-Lyttle: +2

Only two Houston lineups without Ajavon had a positive value, both at +1.

2 comments:

norwester said...

I totally agree about the Dance Troupe. They've impressed me so far this season, while last season they often seemed to be little more than back-ground noise.

Patrick said...

They seem like a good group of kids and are having fun. It has been fun for me to watch them grow up over the years...a couple of them have been around a long time.