score: Storm 81 Sparks 82 (L) (17-10)
9721 (riiiight - maybe if you counted all the ads flashing
Watch | It looked like she was smelling something
bad, but she was clearly emoting when she was missing all
those low notes.
Psyche | We obey the voice from above.
Highlight | Meeting Mrs. Greco, Betty for
a 3+1 to tie the game at 80, me yelling during the first Spark
free throw and getting an echo along with a third of the crowd
giving me a "What the hell was that?" look.
| Musical bean bags.
| They were flopping like crazy - Teasley,
Christi Thomas, Dixon - and the refs were not biting. The
refs were also ignoring actual fouls, but what else is new.
| Hoarse (see above).
Wednesday night's debacle against Sacramento - we're getting
bumped in the first round. After tonight's game against the
Sparks - we're back to contender form and will be doing some
damage in the playoffs.
Just about everything about the team's performance tonight
- demeanor, energy and yes, swagger - was in stark contrast
to the tired, hestitant, deer-in-the-headlights team we saw
on Wednesday. The Storm came into this game, went toe-to-toe
with the best the Sparks could throw at them - literally in
the case of Betty - and missed a win at Staples by one basket.
And they did it without LJ.
Our post players were the difference. It was the scrappy and
never-give-an-inch play from Kamila, Janell (who I thought
would have been out for the season after being carried off
the court on Wednesday) and Simone that allowed the Storm
to be competitive. Yes, Sue and Betty were huge contributors,
but as we saw against Sacramento they need help too.
Kamila was a downright monster. She was playing with an aggressiveness
that caught the Sparks off guard, I think. She was driving,
hitting mid-range jumpers, ripping rebounds on both ends of
was a big-time gamer. I thought for sure that she was out
for the season after watching her limp off the court on Wednesday
night against the Monarchs. Not so. Even though was visibly
in pain much of the time, Janell was also taking charge in
the post and forcing the Sparks to guard her.
stepped up as well and played better than she has of late.
She wasn't as hesitant, was able to keep her hands on the
ball, and eventually put up some decent shots.
of this action inside allowed Sue and Betty to go to work
from the perimeter. Sue was almost unstoppable and if she
hadn't missed that last second shot for the win, this might
have gone down in the books as one of her best games as a
game was tight pretty much all the way. Any time either team
started to claw ahead (and believe me, the claws were out),
the other would get a defensive stop or two and tie it again.
things that killed the Storm were missed free throws and unconverted
offensive rebounds. Betty missed 2 free throws and Simone
missed 4, and even getting 3 of those 6 would have been the
difference. The offensive rebounding was surprisingly good,
but the Storm weren't able to easily convert and turned the
ball over. Again, a couple more of those would have made the
last couple of minutes were heart-stopping to say the least.
The Sparks had built a 4 point lead with 30 seconds left that,
looking at how tight the Storm had gotten at the end of the
game, seemed to be it. The basket was a bit in the way, so
I didn't get a clean look at Betty's three-point shot to say
whether it was rushed, in desperation or an open shot, but
she took it and amazingly got fouled by The Diva. It must
have been a clean foul, because even the Sparks crowd didn't
get too upset about it.
bit of referring oddity - Betty made the free throw, but the
refs had her redo it because a Spark commited a lane violation.
If the opposing team commits the violation, shouldn't it have
counted and only been reshot if it had been missed? Also,
The Diva was trying to get a jump ball called. Whaaaa? I think
her ribbons were too tight.
the Sparks' last play, The Diva had the ball in the post and
was actually outside the paint. She had the ball held up high
and Janell poked it out of her hands. Janell was behind The
Diva and even from our vantage point across the arena it looked
like it was all ball. Janell got the foul called on her anyway.
Lisa made one of the two free throws. We couldn't really see
if Janell pushed with her other hand or if she got body contact
against The Diva, but the ball tip looked clean.
got the inbounds and took off down the court. She was covered
by two Sparks when she took the shot, and had a couple seconds
left on the clock. She probably had time to pass it off to
anyone under the basket, if anyone had been under the basket.
I don't remember seeing any Storm players racing down the
court to be there for a pass or rebound. They seemed to be
letting Sue take the shot. Of course, you would want Sue taking
the last shot and she did get close, but one green jersey
under the basket might have tipped that shot back in. There
would have been time for it.
other fireworks display happened a little earlier when Betty
and Dixon got into it. Here is my take on the incident. Betty
had gotten a pass and Dixon and one other Spark tried to trap
her. Betty tried to reverse direction and go away from the
baseline when her arm and Dixon's arm got "tied up"
- Dixon got called for a foul very quickly. Even after the
whistle blew, she wouldn't let go of Betty, so Betty flailed
her arm around and pushed off of Dixon to get clear. Dixon
immediately stepped upto Betty and started jawing. Betty of
course responded and Dixon took a swing at Betty. The other
players jumped in fairly quickly to stop the fight from getting
too much farther than that. The refs ended up calling off-setting
technical fouls and ejected Dixon. If Dixon got ejected, didn't
the refs have to call a second technical on her, and if so
why didn't the Storm get a free throw and possession? Instead,
the Storm only got the ball on the side. Betty didn't even
get any free throws from the foul because the Sparks weren't
over the limit yet. Fishy at best, crappy officiating at worst.
The officials were quick to step in and stop things from going
any farther, but they muffed the call. Since this happened
with a minute and a half on the clock, we could have used
those free throws.
too bad that this game wasn't televised. It will be one of
the great Seattle / LA games, even if we did lose.
center - eh. Yeah, it's big. Yeah, it has 3 rows of luxury
boxes (I hope binoculars come with the box). Yeah, it has
fast food restaurants inside the concourse so there is an
option to the arena food. It didn't live up to the hype. The
ads on every flat surface (and even some curved ones, don't
ask) were distracting. The angle of the bowl was too shallow
and even in row 18 or where ever we were it felt like we were
too far away. Every time we go to a new arena for a WNBA game,
I appreciate the Key that much more. I need to go check out
Madison Square Garden, but I have a feeling that the Key will
always be the best.
Sparks fans - for the most part, OK. We had a family sitting
right in front of us who were all dressed up in Sparks' gear
that was a little weary of us when we first sat down. I got
their attention with my first "Brick!" bellow. After
that, they were giving us some good natured smack talk and
Mack (Dirty Socks), New Socks and I were giving it back to
them. After the game, they all gave us a "Good game"
and high fives on the way out. If we had won, who knows if
they would have been that nice about it, but I'm willing to
give them the benefit of doubt. There were a couple other
LA fans who weren't so happy to see us, including one woman
a few rows down who was cussing at us, flipping us off, etc.
other thing about the LA fans - they were slaves to the arena
announcer. They wouldn't cheer, stand up or anything unless
the announcer told them to. In fact, the only times they actually
got excited about the game (again because they were told to
over and over) were at the end of the two halves. This was
an exciting game all the way through, but you wouldn't have
known it by watching the LA fans. Sad.
anyone thinks that the Storm Dance Troupe is too suggestive
with some of their moves given that they are all in elementary
school, think again. I was downright shocked at some of the
things those little Sparks Kids were doing. I'm on openminded
kind of guy, but I was getting worried that I might get arrested
for child porn because I had gone to a Sparks game. I'm not
exaggerating. (I was similarly shocked once we got to Phoenix
when their dance kids did their thing).
Storm didn't really see us before or during the game. We were
kind of back and to the left from the bench near the top of
the player tunnel.
had dinner at the Fox Sports Grill that is connected to the
arena. Once we got in and settled, we went off to the restroom
to change into our green "Go Storm" shirts. That
got some attention. LAStormFan stopped by to say hello, which
was nice. He was the only LA-based forum member to introduce
themselves. We also saw Adia's mother as we left to go into
and Sik-co went off during the game once they had spotted
Mrs. Greco and had her come over to where the group was sitting
to say hello. She was very nice and very appreciative that
we were all there to cheer her daughter and the Storm. I told
her that we all liked Michelle quite a bit and were impressed
by her determination and tough play - when she got in the
odd Staples Center thing - they wouldn't allow you to keep
the plastic caps from water bottles that you bought at the
concessions stand. So we can't have a light plastic cap that
wouldn't make it down to the floor if we threw it as hard
as we could, but we can have a heavy bottle of water that
would make it to the court and splash water everywhere on
the way down. That's some smart thinking.
Staples complaint - horrible scoreboards. You'd think that
with all that video screen space, they would have had decent
scoreboards. Not so. They sucked. The Rose Garden still has
the best by far.
the game, we packed up the mini-van and drove to Phoenix (with
a small detour to Chez Sic-ko). 5 hours and no deer. We switched
off on driving since it was the middle of the night. After
we got into Arizona, I stopped off on an exit to switch off
to Leighway. The moon was bright and there were few lights
to mess up the sky. It was beautiful and the desert was lit
up enough that you could have easily hiked without too much
worry. It must have either rained earlier or was about to,
because there was that rain smell mixed in with the desert
smell. Leighway asked what the stink was. I said, "Arizona."