Tuesday, August 25, 2009

26/2009 - Sparks 91, Dream 87: More Shots Matter

The Atlanta Dream/Los Angeles Sparks games have proven to be pretty memorable. There was that amazing road win in 2008. There was that great Pat Summitt game a couple of days ago. Not that a statistical post-mortem is necessary, but let's look at the game a little bit:

As always, we look at Dean Oliver's Four Factors:

Field goal shooting: The Dream was held to just 40.2 percent shooting overall, compared to 47.8 pecent from the Sparks. Adding in 3-point goals for effective field goal percentage bumps the Dream up to 45.7 percent and the Sparks up to 50.7 percent. Either way, the Sparks had an advantage in field goal shootings.

Turnovers: This might be a key to the game that no one has considered - the Sparks were good at hanging to the ball. The Dream coughed up the rock 19 times, which is about their average. However, the Sparks only lost the ball 12 times during the game, a decisive advantage.

Offensive Rebounding. The Sparks had 11 offensive rebounds, and the Dream had only 10. But when you look at offensive rebounding percentage, the Sparks's percentage was 34.3 percent and the Dream's was only 24.3 percent. Another advantage for the Sparks.

Free throw visits: 25 for the Sparks, 17 for the Dream. And the Sparks hit 84 percent of their field goals, particularly the crucial ones in the fourth quarter. The Dream only hit 71 percent of theres.

It's odd. We lost every single one of the four factors, but only lost the game by seven points. Then again, we took 15 more shots than the Sparks did.

And now, the individual Sparks players:

Candace Parker: 23 points, 8 rebounds. 8-for-13 shooting. I think someone at Full Court Press reported that Candace Parker is only at about 80 percent of her pre-pregnancy form. Well, 80 percent of fantastic is pretty fantastic.
Betty Lennox: "Noox" scored 14 points and 8 rebounds. Her +11 raw plus/minus was best among the Sparks. Clearly, Lennox had something to prove, and she proved it.
Tina Thompson: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists.
Delisha Milton-Jones: 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists.
Lisa Leslie: Only 6 points on 2-for-9 shooting.

(* * *)

Now, let's look at each player from the Atlanta Dream:

Angel McCoughtry: With Chamique Holdsclaw not playing, McCoughtry had The Claw's shoes to fill. She did an admirable job with 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 steals. She shot 11-for-20, the only Atlanta player hitting more than 50 percent of her shots. But McCoughtry has to share her award with....

...Iziane Castro Marques: 26 points from Castro Marques, but her 9-for-23 shooting is awful. However, Castro Marques had 7 defensive rebounds and four assists. Togther, McCoughtry and Castro Marques are the Dreamers of the Game.

Erika de Souza: A very good game, but not as good as McCoughtry or Iziane. De Souza went 5-for-10 with 13 points and 9 rebounds. However, she had five personal fouls.

Shalee Lehning: Lehning only got 21 minutes, due to her lack of effectiveness. She scored 3 points but had 4 assists and no turnovers. Compare that with....

Ivory Latta: Latta had 10 points on 2-for-6 shooting. Eight of those ten points came during a brief window of time in the second quarter; after that, not much of anything. She also got five personal fouls although she didn't deserve a couple of them. Sorry, but this Lehning vs. Latta bout comes up with a "no decision".

Jennifer Lacy: An average game for a WNBA player, which is a good game for Lacy. 10 minutes, four points, five assists.

Coco Miller: She only played 7 minutes, and went 1-for-4 in shooting. Her -10 in raw plus minus, believe it or not, wasn't the worst.

Sancho Lyttle: 27 minutes played and just two rebounds. Those Sparks had Lyttle's number and reduced her effectiveness to that of Chamique Holdsclaw, who was sitting on the bench. Despite her +11 in raw plus minus, she shot 3-for-10 on Sunday.

Michelle Snow: we have three true posts, and the Sparks made two of them disappear. Snow played 12 minutes, took two shots, missed them both, and had a -16 in raw plus/minus.

Armintie Price: Played the fewest minutes of the game. We needed her out there with Holdsclaw on the bench, but Price was no help. Picked up a personal foul and a turnover in her 150 seconds of play. Took a shot and missed it. -4 in raw plus/minus in just two minutes. I'm going to give Price the Bad Dream award. She really needs to turn on the power for the Dream, whether it's on the offensive or defensive side.

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