Nothing really on the Liberty front. You know how it is. And so, onward and upward...
DETROIT 88, PHOENIX 83
Detroit leads series, 2-1
The Shock got off to a hell of a start, scoring 30 points in the first quarter to the Mercury's 23, allowing them to coast the rest of the way to victory. To be sure, they weren't exactly resting on their haunches, but neither did they attack the ball all the times that they could have. This was purely a "Get-ahead, stay-ahead" approach, and the Shock pulled it off masterfully.
The Mercury did not have a bad game, but nor did they look like a team in contention for the WNBA crown. They shot an anemic 16.7% from beyond the arc, while going 34.7% from the field; both are hardly the numbers that an offense-only team needs to put up. They DID manage to out-rebound the Shock for the first time in the series, but rarely turned these moments into baskets, instead taking dumb chances and awkward shots and forcing the ball. By the end, with Detroit still nicely (though not firmly) ahead, a sense of desperation began to ooze out, with 18 missed shots in the 4th quarter alone. This was not judicious-haste; this was panic.
The game moved slowly, both due to the Mercs inability to move the ball and also Detroit's holding-pattern. Chippy play dominated throughout, leading to plenty of fouls on both sides, and while I can't say that the game was fun to watch, I can say that it was... interesting. The Mercs couldn't reach back over the never-beyond-nine-points lead of the Shock, however...
...And so, Detroit managed to hold on and put themselves in a nice place to secure their second-straight WNBA title. A win tomorrow by Phoenix would only mean a stay of execution, as the series would then move to the Den of Lions that is the Shock's home court (the Palace, for all you unitiated). Winning two games in a row seems like a daunting task for a Phoenix team that hasn't seemed all that put together since their first game. Don't measure ring sizes just yet, Detroit, but measuring the shelf space you have to hold the Finals Trophy wouldn't exactly be out of the question.
- The Mercs played seven players total. No starter played less than 33 minutes. Nice way to get things moving on your end, Phoenix.
- The Shock, meanwhile, played 10, 9 of which got significant playing time. Coincidence? I would not posit so.
- Desperation personified. In a 40-second span near the end of the 4th, the Mercs missed and rebounded the ball six times. A simple lay-up was even beyond their grasp, as they also dropped several of these (three in the 4th).
- 28 of the Mercs 83 points came from Free Throws. Detroit still hasn't gotten the hang of the whole "not-fouling-your-opponent-when-you're-kicking-their-ass" thing.
- 7 of the 19 points scored by the Shock in the 4th quarter were also from Free Throws. Phoenix, meanwhile, needs to work on the "don't-take-stupid-fouls-when-you're-down" way of thinking.
- Questionable action by Plenette Pierson at the end of the game. With the game essentially decided, Pierson gets tangled up with Penny Taylor and then takes a swing at Taylor. Should action be taken? Yes. Will action be taken? Hell, no.
If the heat doesn't kill you, Plenette Pierson just might.
At least ONE ESPN blogger found last night's game fun to watch. If he thinks THAT'S indicative of WNBA-quality play, well... shit. Maybe he should've watched the Shock in the REGULAR season.
There won't be a Colorado team in the WNBA next season after all. Colorado, which in The Writer's opinion had the best shot of landing a franchise next season due to the market and surprise success of the Colorado Crush, will now have to wait until next season, at least. This means, barring a hideously bad decision or something similarly catastrophic, it'll be a 13-team league next summer.
Anyway, that's about it. Until tomorrow?
See ya, Space Cowboy...