Storm 79, Sparks 75

What to say that I haven’t already said.

The Sparks have no defense and the Storm have crazy good defense. Who’s 1-7 and who’s 7-1?

Story. (Check out my slideshow/pictures on this link).

Storm players and their coach all talk about their defensive emphasis. Players talk about working together as a unit. This is the most cohesive they’ve looked since 2004, when the won the championship.

Game thread.

Box score.

Loved the Home Depot Center. Wish they could play there more.

Candace Parker was visibly flustered at times during the game. I would be too if I were busting my hump and no one on my team seemed to be able to help except Tina Thompson.

7 p.m., an hour before tipoff and the sun’s not set yet….the Sparks warm up.

7:01 p.m.

Lauren Jackson warms up on her end.

7:05 p.m., the entire team leaves except Candace Parker.

7:07 p.m., Tina Thompson comes out to join her.

CP watches her shot swish in.

Looking down at the venue from the top.

Sara Parker and baby Lailaa…..awwwwwwww

And with dad Shelden.

The Storm and the Spark kids dance together at a fourth quarter timeout.

Remarkable display of unity.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Ok, it took me awhile to gather my thoughts… And here they are… WTF is worng with this team. They played 35 minutes of crap and then suddenly they play defense, actually rebound, and get shots to fall. Right now they simply make me sick. Candace is playing like she is the "chosen one." She makes bad decisions and does not even pretend to play defense. Delisha's decision making is also quite questionable. Tina, Noelle, and Kristi can't get a damn thing to fall and overall the entire team seems out of sync.

    I don't know what it is going to take to straighten things out but I am pretty much thinking this season is a wrap…

  2. There were actually two times before that last five that the Sparks distinctly tried to play defense. Both involved Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, who is the only one I've seen box out in three games. One defensive instance, in the third quarter, caused me to write in my notes: "OOO! LA played D!" That's kind of sad now that I think about it.

    I disagree that Candace is playing like "the chosen one," and Thompson has been the only other person on the team besides Candace that is performing. Toliver put up some points last night, too. Not sure why you're criticizing the only people who are scoring for the Sparks.

    I also disagree that the season is a wrap. They've got a loooong way to go, and anything can happen. They won't be winning the championship this year, but maybe they can do some good. This city is spoiled as hell, always expecting championships. Maybe they should slow down and learn how to be a team, because they need to.

    Did everyone read Storm Coach Brian Agler's comments about how they take it one game at a time? Ding ding!! That's how you build anything – a winning season, a relationship, an education. Quit freakin talking about championships at the beginning of the season and build them one step at a time.

  3. Hi Sue,
    Now that I have had a chance to see the team play in person, I feel more comfortable commenting on their issues.
    I agree with you that they are not winning a championship. I also agree with the anonymous poster who claimed Cooper looks better and better as the season goes on. I have read some of your posts in the past and take it you are not a big Cooper fan. Can you explain why? If that is the case, I don't understand that stance considering he has 8 professional championships under his belt. If it wasn’t for a miracle heave by Sophia Young, we would have been Western Conference Champs again, and the same people complaining to get rid of him would have been mute. A lot of people assume that just because he doesn't bounce around yelling, pointing, and screaming that he is not focused on the game. His teams were fundamentally sound, played great defense, and competed hard every year. Do you agree?
    As I stated previously, it’s clear this team has major chemistry issues. Jennifer Gillom is in over her head, she seems best suited to be a lead assistant in the WNBA. Candace has always had issues playing defense, so to call her out now is irrelevant. In my opinion, Tina Thompson is the main problem. Her shot selection is ill-advised, and like Kevin Garnett, she simply has lost her explosiveness. Defensively she is a consistent liability and her mistakes cause breakdowns in the team defensive concept. We’re officially a mess this year! The heat is on Penny to find the correct balance of players to place around CP3. Collecting aging all-stars/Olympians is not working.
    Thanks,
    Hoop 143

  4. Hey Hoop,

    I appreciate your comments. I was critical in the past of Cooper's tendency to sit on the bench with his head in his hand. But I can't speak to whether or not he's a good coach because I've never played for him. I do, however, have it on very good authority that he's doing an excellent job at USC. Whether or not he'd be doing a great job if he were still head of the Sparks is an unknown. Sometimes coaches who don't have success in one place do in another. It's all about finding the right fit; it's like when a teacher finds the right school where they want to stay and work.

    I'm not going to put the blame on any one person in the Sparks' current mess. It's many things. But I think it would be a GREAT start if the powers that be quit trying to change the team and turn it upside down every year and instead, picked a core group and let things settle, like the Storm have.

    I agree that veterans are not the way to go. After I posted a comment on this thread last night, I thought about it some more and wondered if people in LA give too much credit to "who" a player is rather than what they can do. Like I said about Atlanta last week, they are a relative bunch of no-names who are kicking the butts of other teams with big names. But we are a celebrity-obsessed culture that loses sight of the fact that there are thousands and thousands of extraordinary and interesting regular folks around us every day that often put the celebrities to shame. So what do you expect.

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