Friday, September 18, 2009

A Sense of Urgency

As we approach Game 2 of another playoff series with the Storm down 0-1, we will hear people talk about the same things:

  • Lauren Jackson's injury
  • Sue Bird's performance
  • A lack of perimeter depth
All of these three are truly important, and we can add in the need for BOTH Bird and Cash to step up in the abscence of Jackson.

Having watched all four game 1's so far this post season, though, I will step out and say that I think the key for the Storm in the next game and beyond will be one simple directive.

Play with a sense of urgency.

We saw this in Detroit as the Shock overcame a significant deficit to hold serve on their home court.

We saw this in San Antonio as the Silver Stars pushed on every weakness they could expose on the Phoenix defense and stars found their games in the waning moments of what we knew would be a tight game.

We saw this in Washington as the Fever refused to let the lower seed win that first game despite their inspired play early on.

We did NOT see this from Seattle or LA in their game 1. Seattle allowed themselves to be punished early and despite a late push could not recover. LA was in control of the game and then relaxed enough to allow Seattle to challenge them.

With their backs against the wall, the Storm will need to play with that sense of urgency. I don't mean that they should change their style of play or take badly rushed shots. I mean they need to put every ounce of effort on what they do best. Every player on the floor, all eight of the available players, will need to play like every possession matters, because it will.

LA has enough bravado to avoid playing their best game. They don't play Seattle with a sense of urgency. They are sure enough of themselves that they will expose themselves to a focused attack and true hustle.

Players like Little, Wright and Walker play like this every game, but the rest of the lineup needs to take that cue and play with the same grit, determination and hustle. Talent will not win this series, I doubt it will win a game for Seattle with Jackson on the bench. In my opinion, LA has Seattle beat EASILY on the talent meter at the moment.

Hustle, passion and a sense of urgency are the things that will win this series for Seattle, the question is whether they have the desire to express them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lineup Info

I am only a third of the way through the season data, but here is a quick look at the first 11 games of the season....

Top Performing Lineups

Bird-Wright-Cash-Little-Jackson +68 (146 minutes) +18 per 40 minutes
Bird-Wright-Cash-Jackson-Burse +16 (28 minutes) +23 per 40 minutes
Bird-Wright-Gearlds-Little-Jackson +10 (18 minutes) +22 per 40 minutes

Top Player Pairs

Bird-Jackson +103 (318 minutes) +13 per 40 minutes
Bird-Wright +97 (286 minutes) +14 per 40 minutes
Bird-Little +74 (253 minutes) +12 per 40 minutes