Last week, I’d posted the Storm would go on to sweep… and that didn’t exactly happen, but in a way, thank goodness. We’d never get the chance to be graced by Sue Bird’s utter distaste for womankind in game 5.
No Bird’s not mean, but her jumper was absolutely filthy. Mask adorned, Bird made everything. From flopping and complaining to the refs (probably to buy some time for her team to break) to proceeding to nail timely threes, confirming the veteran’s dominance of the moment. We all like to admit that basketball is “all about the team game” but, Bird reminded us that teamwork is lamesometimes.
The Phoenix Mercury played solid defense, with Brian January chasing Bird down and contesting most of her shots. The Seattle Storm offense got a little stagnant at times in the second half, devolving to stressed out over-dribbling by Bird looking for half of a good screen from a tired Breanna Stewart. Besides Bird’s makes, it was definitely messy.
The Storm obviously won’t be able to replicate a quarter like that in the future, and I’m sure the Storm coaching staff will be back with a brand new attack against the Washington Mystics, opponents heading into tonight’s first game of the WNBA Finals.
The biggest thing to watch on both sides of the ball will be the stars. League MVP Breanna Stewart is playing great so far, and Elena Delle Donne of the Mystics looks to keep the Mystic offensive machine rolling. Here’s how each has been faring in the playoffs thus far:
|Elena Delle Donne||5||8||21||23||23||60||18||4||4||9||0.458||0.381||1||21.4||12||3.6|
Elena has been snaring boards and it’ll take all of Stewart’s and Natasha Howard’s will to keeping her out of the paint. The Storm had trouble keeping Brittney Griner out of the box, so it’ll be something to keep an eye on.
In my opinion, the worst is over for the Storm. The Mercury are led by one of the greatest basketball players of all time in Diana Taurasi, and the force aka Brittney Griner. The Mystics are good, but shouldn’t halt the Storm’s grind.
In their last series, the Washington Mystics finished with a scoring differential of 2.8 against an arguably weaker team in the Atlanta Dream. The Storm, facing the Mercury, maintained a scoring differential of -.08.
I’m still holding out for a good ol’ Storm blowout, and I think they hang at least 90 on the Mystics and win by at least 15.