Monday, July 14, 2008

Sparks 75 - Silver Stars 62


When she was in the game, Shannon Bobbit was everywhere. She only shot 2-12 and had 3 turnovers in 26 minutes, but she was the spark for the Sparks. She ended up with 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and a steal (it definitely felt like she had more than 1 steal), as well as a couple of charges drawn. If she didn't take half an hour between the time she catches the ball and when she shoots? She might have had a few more points. Regardless, she played a nice game.

Becky Hammon, by the way, only shot 6-19 for the Silver Stars, but that woman is a magician around the basket and in the paint.

As far as the game: it wasn't always pretty. Both teams shot very poorly, but Los Angeles dominated the boards, grabbing 44% of their own offensive rebound opportunities and allowing San Antonio to retrieve a pitiful 5% of theirs. In raw form, the offensive rebounding edge went to L.A. 18 - 1. !!!!!

The Sparks played particularly well in the first and fourth quarters -- dominating the first quarter to the tune of not allowing San Antonio a single offensive rebound (and holding them to just 26.7 eFG%) en route to a 17-10 lead. They stopped getting the ball inside in the halfcourt for several possessions in a row early in the fourth quarter, allowing the Silver Stars pull back to within 6 points, but then reasserted themselves and pulled away to a pretty easy victory.

It looked as though the Sparks were making a concerted effort (once again) to run and get early offensive opportunities, particularly in the first half. Candace Parker ended up with 8 defensive rebounds and quite a few of those turned into fast breaks because of her ability to turn and take the ball up the court herself. It seemed, tonight, like the correct strategy, considering the success -- they had some success in the halfcourt as well, but they also succumbed to the Silver Stars' physical defense, including 6 turnovers by Lisa Leslie.

On the other end, the Sparks pressured the Silver Stars rebounders, denying outlet passes and keeping pressure in the backcourt. They also played with energy, drawing several charging fouls and getting 10 steals, mostly by intercepting entry passes and kickouts.

There is still a lot for the Sparks to improve upon. The game was fast-paced but sloppy, both teams turned the ball over on more than 20% of their possessions. Still, all in all, a good win. If the Sparks can continue to win the rebounding battle like they did tonight, as well as keep their turnovers down , they should be fine for the remainder of the season.

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