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8/08/09 vs New York

Final score: Storm 79 – Dream 88 (L) (13-11)

Submitted by Bbfan1960

This was the first Storm game I’ve had the chance to attend since the Sting folded. My brother lives in the Atlanta area so I talked him into going with me. He is an avid basketball fan but was pretty oblivious to the WNBA. He took the opportunity to get under my skin by cheering for the Dream and then gloating when they won. He did say that he was impressed with the quality of play and that he had a good time and was glad he went. I told him that LJ was the best female player in the world and at least her performance tonight did nothing to prove me wrong.

It was breast cancer awareness night so the Dream wore pink uniforms and several breast cancer survivors gave testimonials and there was a taped tribute to Kay Yow during halftime. The arena was fairly full which was impressive since the Falcons were playing on TV and there was a Paul McCartney concert at a venue a couple of miles away.

This was one of those games where you truly feel you have the better team but that every break was going the other way and you end up with a loss. The reasons we lost in my opinion were as follows:

1. The Dream made too may “pull one out of your rear end” plays. They made at least 3 “and 1” plays with heaves in the direction of the basket that went in, Izzy banking in threes, Ivory Latta bricks that don’t draw iron falling right into a teammates hands for layups. Weird bounces off missed free throws for offensive put backs.

2. Swin Cash’s anti-clutch play. Not only did she make eight turnovers, most of them absolutely killed our momentum. She missed a free throw that would have tied the game after one of our many comebacks. On an inbounds play, she threw the ball straight to a Dream player that resulted in an uncontested layup. On a critical jump ball in the fourth quarter she wins the tip but sends the ball straight out of bounds. In the last minute, her offensive foul negates a TW put back off an LJ miss. We would have been within 3 after a 13 point Dream lead. That play pretty much killed us for the night.

3. TW resumed her role as “The human turnover.” She got in early foul trouble that limited her minutes and never got into the rhythm of the game. The box score credited her with four turnovers but she had a hand in at least three others.

4. Horrible officiating, especially on out of bounds plays. They missed so many plays that I almost wonder if they recruit their referees from professional wrestling. Almost every out of bounds call went against the Storm. The called a BS double technical on LJ and Snow. It was routine physical play and a warning should have been sufficient.

5. Cash and Camille letting Sancho Lyttle light them up. She was getting good looks all night long.

6. No “instant energy” player off the bench. We don’t really have bench players as opposed to eight interchangeable starters. I really don’t believe we can reach championship level until we have such a player. We haven’t had one since Tully. Ivory Latta and Coco Miller gave Atlanta that little extra energy that put them over the top.

7. Inability to finish quarters. It seems we would get the lead down to one with a minute and a half left in the quarter but then forget to play defense and let Atlanta score the last four or five points.

The reasons we could have won:

1. Lauren Jackson. Every time Atlanta went up by eight or nine she would make plays on defense or hit a three to bring us back in the game.

2. Sue Bird. I’ve read some criticisms from some earlier posts on her play from people who admit they didn’t watch the game. The criticisms couldn’t be more off base in my opinion. Her court vision was nothing less than extraordinary. She would have been credited with more assists had not Little and Cash blown layups. You really have to watch her play live to appreciate how good she is. Her defense was fine. She also had to play excessive minutes due to TW’s substandard play.

3. Suzy Batkovic-Brown. She finally got enough playing time in a non-garbage situation to make a positive contribution. She looked like the player I remembered from the Australian national team.

4. We did not quit. Even though the final score had us losing by 9 it seemed like a one or two point game since the final score was inflated by free throws. There were at least four opportunities for Atlanta to blow us out, but we fought back every time.

Most anxious moment of the game:

After that BS double technical on LJ and Snow, LJ gets a bad call on an offensive foul setting a pick and appears to turn in the direction of the official and says her favorite word. A technical is called and I’m thinking LJ is ejected with 11 seconds to go in the half. There is no announcement in the arena about who the tech is on. LJ plays the final seconds on the half so I knew ot must not have been on her. I did not find out that it was on Peewee until I saw the box score the next day.

Biggest disappointment:

Aside from the loss, There was no mention or recognition of LJ’s 5000th point in the arena.

General observations:

Atlanta has a strong roster from top to bottom, They will make some noise in the playoffs and they could reach the finals. In person they are very impressive.

I hope we make one more roster move because we really have some dead wood at the end of the bench.

I saw about six other Storm fans there so at least I wasn’t alone.
Even though we lost, It was a good game to watch and I more than got my money’s worth.