A New York Liberty Blog

Friday, July 6, 2007

Thank God It’s Gameday

Start me Up!

The Liberty try to put themselves ahead of Chicago and firmly into 3rd place in their conference with two games this weekend: one away, one at home.

First Stop: Land of the Auto-mo-car.
GAME PREVIEW: DETROIT

Detroit thoroughly dismantled the Liberty in their last meeting, winning 67-57 at MSG and never really letting New York into the game. The Shock, however, have lost their last two games (including an awful drop against the Mystics) and despite having three players on the East’s starting All-Star team, are 4-4 in their last 8, hardly the dominant team they were at the beginning of the season.

Cracking under pressure?

The Liberty, meanwhile, are swerving dangerously close to ineptitude. Picking up a win against LA, but then dropping their game in Seattle. This is their last game in their road-trip out west, but it’s in Auburn Hills, where the Liberty have lost nine straight, going back to 2003, and are 12-5 overall. How ugly is that?

THIS ugly.

This is a completely different team from last year, however. The Liberty have the talent to take this team. Bruce, Moore, Thor, Dutch, The Middle-Man, Battle, and McCarville have all had stellar games at some point this season, while the Shock are on their heels. This isn’t nearly the David-and-Goliath game that it was at the beginning of the year.

Although it still is a bit intimidating.

Kraayeveld needs to regain some of her form and Davenport MUST get out of her slump. Moore’s gotta play up to her level, and Christon… bring some thunder. The rest of the team just needs to take care of their own business, come together as a team, and we will all be laughing about this on Saturday?

Give the Shocker to the Shock.

KEYS TO A NEW YORK VICTORY

  • Play a staunch defense. Detroit is 1-3 when scoring less than 70 points. Limiting points is always a great way to win a game, but Detroit relies upon its strong cast to build on each other. Cut their momentum at the knees and keep the game neat and simple.
  • Take solid shots. Putting a bad ball in the air for a Detroit rebound gives the Shock a chance to go into their system and eats up at least 24 seconds from the clock.
  • Play the bench. Excluding Kraayeveld and Christon, the last time the Libs played Detroit, our starters and top line were, despite being ineffective, left in for too long. With Thorn out and a number of the corps playing strong, that shouldn’t be a problem this game.

For a more “detailed” and “serious” game day preview, look at this one from USA Today.


One step above the Weekly World News.

7:30
The Palace of Auburn Hills
Take your Horseless Carriage and Rock it, Baby!


Then it’s back to New York, New York…

When Sinatra sings “New York, New York”, does anybody else get goosebumps?
GAME PREVIEW: SACRAMENTO

Sacramento’s in town, and that means a knock-down, drag-em-out fight that’s gonna wreck both teams and leave the fans asleep in their seats.

In scholarly circles, this is known as the “New Jersey Devils” Effect.

Sacramento, as well you know, plays a stifling defensive game, relying on a few key breaks and solid shooting to carry them over their opponents. Of their 11 wins this season (so far), the Monarchs have only one two of them when giving up more than 70 points. That means that when they start to scramble, they don’t stop.

Do the hustle!

Depending upon the situation, New York will have either come off of a loss or will be picking up steam after their win. A win could give confidence, while a loss could breed anger. Both should be tempered and poured into the forge of stoic talent.

I’m from Pittsburgh. Forge references are de rigueur.

New York can’t be drawn into their game. Set a tone early and force the Monarchs to play catch-up. Their defense will suffer and they’ll lose the advantage. Sacramento can only survive when it divides a team into parts and devours them at their leisure.

Or as my English friends call it, lezh-uuuuur.

If each Belle do what they do best – Davenport picking up the garbage shots, Kraayeveld working the transition, Christon pounding it from the field, Willis finding the opening – then the Monarchs will fold like an origami crane. We have all the gears for a winning machine, with the added bonus of adaptability thrown in to boot.

We’re a team of many colors, for sure. Unrelated note: I love this picture.

KEYS TO A NEW YORK VICTORY

  • Keep the Monarchs scrambling. Sacramento is going to try to disrupt lanes and shift momentum, but by making choice, if not necessarily strategic, passes, it will force them to move into another position… and then the strike.
  • Hit from the Arc. Sacramento has a strong line on outside defense, but it can be cracked. The Liberty have to regain their early season form in shooting 3-pointers.
  • Take more shots. Sacramento is not particularly dominant on offense or rebounds (though they’re tied for third in the league, they’re over the 7th spot by only 2 rebounds), and one or two wayward shots will not hurt. We didn’t take nearly enough shots last time, anyway.

And then it's Monday! Hopefully we'll be 2-0. Keep working it, Libs. I know you can do it.



AROUND THE LEAGUE...

Fever 57, Sparks 56

Talk about a nail-biter. The L.A. Sparks almost picked up a major upset that would have definitely helped out late in the year when they’re struggling to maintain playoff-position. It’s still amazing that they were able to almost beat the hottest team in the league right now, and quite simply astounding that Indiana couldn’t fend them off and needed the full 40 to pick up this squeaker. Tamika Catchings continues her reign of terror from her throne in Indianapolis with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Sidney Spencer and former Lib Sherill Baker marked high tide for the Sparks, with 18 (7 rb) and 15 points (6), respectively.

Princess Peach decided to open up a can of whoop-ass. You go, Baker.

Monarchs @ Lynx
Storm @ Comets
Sun @ Mercury

So, the Lynx aren’t playing in their usual digs, the Target Center, but transferring to the arena of the University of Minnesota. Maybe that’ll help them, as they have the West’s worst home record, going against a team that they haven’t beaten since 2004.

2004? That's essentially the Stone Age.

The Monarchs, while not nearly as dominant as the Shock or Fever, are still the dogs on top of the pile in the West. The Lynx went 4-1 before dropping their last two, and that surge of desperation might give them an extra boost, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough. Monarchs by 6.

The Storm, sans Sue Bird, are starting on a three-game road trip in Houston. Houston has been playing MUCH better than they started off (although they couldn’t do much worse than their 0-10 start). The Storm, however, are 4-1 in their last five, but tellingly, their only loss in that span came against… the Comets. Expect another hard-fought battle, with Houston desperate to pick up some space in the standings and the Storm just as frantic to maintain their position. It’s going to be tough, but I think the Storm can pull it off. Storm by 5.

The ancient battle of the Sun versus Mercury continues, as the Solar System Smackdown busts into Phoenix. The Mercs’ run-and-gun offense has been helter-skelter since day one, picking up wins against some major opponents, but also dropping some against . Taurasi is back from her suspension, but Penny Taylor has been the Killer Whale of the Mercs in that span, averaging 25.6 points in 4 games. The Sun just aren’t getting it done this season, and despite coming off of a massive upset over Indiana, haven’t been consistent at all, going 3-8 since beating Phoenix at the beginning of the season. Expect the Phoenix to trash through the Connecticut’s sweet-and-sour system. Mercury by 9.

WNBA Q&A, including one question involving the Chicago Sky. Nobody is talking about the Liberty’s “success” this year now that they’re 3-7 in their last ten, but although the Sky have the same record and, like the Libs, are recovering from an awful season, they’re everybody’s darling.

That’s called Garbage in my neck of the woods.

An anonymous commenter, who described himself/herself as a Republican and WNBA fan, posted that he/she did not feel swayed by my arguments and reported that he/she never felt any of the qualms that I wrote about in my essay. If he/she is reading this, or any other Conservative/Republican-WNBA fan is doing so, please write an essay of your own. I would love to read it and would definitely post it.

As for me? That’s it. I’m heading to State College for my brother’s 21st birthday. As such, even if I could update tomorrow, I may be so hungover that I won’t be able to anything other than vomit and moan.

I can’t help it. I’m Polish.

No Week in Review this week, considering the dearth of information. I’ll see you guys on Monday.

See ya, Space Cowboy…

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