Friday, August 14, 2009

August 14th, 2009: Chicago at New York

Chicago Sky 88, New York Liberty 77

You know, before tonight, it would never have occurred to me to compare the New York Liberty to a waterbug, but that's just the way this season has gone.

It's a very New York thing, so let me explain the comparison to those of you who don't have GIANT FLYING ROACHES in your life. You get a waterbug, and it's skulking around generally making weird noises and leaving scrape marks on your paper. That was the first half. Then you find the little fucker and spray him with Raid. That would be whatever the hell AD said at halftime. He goes berserk in a sudden flurry of motion. That would be the third quarter. And then he dies. That... would be the fourth quarter.

Now that you've got the flow of the game, maybe you don't want to read these notes. I can't even promise you no more flying creatures. I can promise you no more roaches, but that's as far as I can take it.

Chicago does odd and extensive stretches, but they were amenable so long as you hollered, since they all went off at once. Erin Thorn hugged the... not ballkids, but young adults who rebound during shootaround. The hugging seemed mutual. Sign of good people.

Whoever that was who thought we needed a rendition of "America the Beautiful" tonight should be locked in a padded cell and forced to listen to that brutal rendition on loop until their mind snaps. Her voice was pleasant enough when she stayed on key and in tune- it's just that she didn't have the voice, the power, or the range to do "America the Beautiful". I preferred the trumpet duo who performed the anthem.

I think Erin Thorn had something to prove. She proved it. She can still shoot, play the point a little, endear herself to some fans, and occasionally throw really dumb passes. I miss her, but that's because of her deadpan sense of humor and because Spencer has done jack shit in the same role. Sharp- I had to correct myself there, I still think of her as K.B. even though she hasn't been a Lib in four years- seems to have the best rapport with Fowles out of the guards for Chicago. It's between her and Thorn. For whatever reason, the starting guards aren't so great at that. Toliver worked well as a microwave kind of player, but I'm surprised Key didn't go to her more to exploit the matchup with FLB a little bit more. Chen was... there. And that was really about it.

To hell with Holdsclaw and to hell with Leslie. Candice Dupree has got to steal the "Smooth" moniker. When she's on, she has such a silken grace to her game that it'll take your breath away. She had one drive to the hoop that was a thing of beauty. If she's on and she's happy and her head isn't up her ass, she's one of my favorite players to watch in the entire league. Fowles is a power underneath. Perkins's ability to get a shot down is uncanny. I swear she has telekinesis on some of those. Canty makes things go. Much the way Kelly Miller was often described as the engine that churned Phoenix to the 2007 title, Canty semed to be the engine that made things go for the Sky tonight- the Liberty started putting together their run right around the time she had to sit with foul trouble. I don't know whether it's because she's a veteran guard who keeps her head and passes well, or what, but it all went to hell when she went out. Ely kicked ass in the first half and the realized that there was a reason she was starting at the three for Chicago.

Hope you feel better soon, Brooke! *sends e-chicken soup into the aether*

I like Cathrine as our sixth woman. She does the dirty work. She sets screens that rarely move, fuck you, Michael Price, she defends decently, she boxes out a lot, she tips out boards. I don't think the fact that she was the only player with a + +/- is a coincidence. Leilani seems to be in the doghouse, but that might just be Donovan's thing about not thinking reserve point guards have any function. I hope Leilani proves her wrong, or at least kicks her in the kneecap to get some playing time. That one play on Fowles, where Fowles made the fatal mistake of bringing the ball down to a level where the Bunny could pounce, was priceless. Ashley's full body dive was pretty awesome too, but AB's energy mostly went off in random directions instead of being channeled into useful pursuits. Kia has the right ideas, but her execution is awful. She'll get an offensive rebound and miss the putback. She'll get fouled and brick both FTs. She'll have a fast break and bounce the ball off her thigh. That sort of thing. Spencer came in, hit a shot, and then went out, never to be seen again. I can't say I object, but at the same time, if we have her, we should find a way to use her. It was good to see Erlana get in, but she really has to work on her chip shots.

So does Essence, OMG. Three blown lay-ups- that is unacceptable for a starting guard on a professional team. Coach Byrd, please get to work on her stat, because this lay-up problem is not a one-game deal, and neither is her questionable ballhandling, and her defensive instincts are starting to fail her. I do like Loree's aggressiveness in the last couple of games, though, and I hope she keeps it up. I'd like to see her get the offense started a little faster, because I think that's affecting our play- spend too much time pounding it between the circles, and your teammates will start thinking, and we all know what that leads to. Janel tried to hard reset the team in the first half by going inside and drawing contact, and she got stuff done on the inside, but either our guards weren't thinking or Chicago was denying her the ball, because, really, seven touches? Tiffany did not impress.

I feel like I'm missing someone... crap, who is it? It's on the tip of my tongue- oh, yeah. Shameka. Forgettable in the first half, except for being the team's leading rebounder. And then she came out in the third quarter and dragged the game back to respectability with everyone on her back. My goodness. Second best quarter I've ever seen a player put together in my life. If she'd dragged us all the way back I'd have hailed her as the Meeksiah and waited for the Rapture right then and there.

I don't know what Coach said at half, but she needs to say it more often. My goodness.

Apparently the only form of traveling that will be called is the up-and-down. Anything that requires counting is unnecessary. No walks, no three seconds- I was amazed that they called a five-second violation, and more stunned that they called an eight-second violation (though the latter might have been because AD would kill them if they didn't). A lot of push-offs went uncalled, and there was one particularly inexplicable foul that was called on Leilani that brought out the boobirds.

I skipped the halftime presentation because I really didn't want to hear MSG fapping about its own.

And then things went batty. No, literally. Somehow a bat got out into the arena and fluttered around for a while before being chased out, but not before it gave the Sky bench a good scare. It was the biggest scare of the night for Chicago. The best laugh was when the sound guy played the theme from Batman afterwards.

I'm disappointed, and we will not speak of that first half, but that third quarter was unfrigginbelievable, and showed what this team can really do. (Although, note to Coach Key? Don't wait until the run reaches a 16-point differential and the opponent is within ten to call timeout.) I'm a Libkid. This is how we roll.


Patricia S. Rudden said...

Love your writeup, as always, although I liked the "GBA" singer more than you did.
Apparently, from another story I read, Donovan said at halftime that they were in a deep hole and whoever thought they couldn't get out of it should leave the locker room. Maybe they could put that on a tape loop? It worked like nothing I've ever seen before. (Get that Guest DJ to put it on a loop.)
A "Little Mary Sunshine" pessimistic friend of ours caught up with us on the way home down 7th Ave and says she thinks they're getting ready to cut the Liberty loose. "The Dolan Guy" was in the house, and Tulsa is looking for a team, and MSG is cutting Cablevision loose so why not also the Liberty, and so forth, like we should plan to sit shiva. Any thoughts on this horrible scenario?

Sue Favor said...

Excellent write up.