Wednesday, June 24, 2009

7/2009 - Sky 99, Dream 98 (OT): Just Warming Up

Two hands, Angel! Two hands!

Okay. We finally have some pictures of this game by the great Craig Cappy. Go to the gallery at and see what I'm talking about.

I decided to look at how well the Dream has been doing during the season in two stats: the Dream's field goal shooting percentage, and opponent 3-point shots made.

G1: Win vs. Indiana, 39.7 percent, 9-for-20 (*)
G2: Loss vs. Washington, 47.7 percent, 6-for-14
G3: Loss vs. Chicago, 41.8 percent, 6-for-11 (*)
G4: Win vs. Connecticut, 46.6 percent, 4-for-24
G5: Win vs. Washington, 45.9 percent, 6-for-14
G6: Loss vs. Liberty, 42.6 percent, 9-for-18 (*)
G7: Loss vs. Chicago, 50 percent, 7-for-15

Looking at the above numbers, note the asterisks. These were cases where the opponent's 3-point field goal percentage was better than our overall shooting percentage. The Dream's opponents shoot 40.5 percent as a whole from 3-point land, which is the second worst in the WNBA. The Dream itself shoots 27.1 percent from behind the 3-point arc, which is 11th out of the 13 WNBA teams.

Not having the power to down the 3-pointer hurts. With the closing seconds of overtime and the Dream down by three, both Angel McCoughtry and Jennifer Lacy tried to sink a 3-pointer. Neither were successful.

However, there is some good news. The Dream's shooting is getting better over time. Furthermore, we are the third best rebounding team in the WNBA, behind the Monarchs and the Sparks. If we can figure out how to defend the 3-pointer, the team can get significantly better. Our losses were by 1 point, 6 points, 8 points and 12 points. That means that in two of those losses, it was essentially a "two-possession" game.

Take away some of those 3-pointers from Washington in Game 2 and Game 2 becomes closer. Take away one 3-pointer from the Sky and we win Game 7.

We seemed to be doing a lot right in Game 7. True, the Sky had one more rebound than we did but we had 12 offensive boards to the Sky's 6. We didn't significantly turn the ball over more. We sent them to the free throw line a little bit more. Hades, we shot 50 percent. There are WNBA teams that don't see 50 percent in a month of games.

Okay. Enough mourning lost chances. Let's look at each of the two teams:

For the Sky:

Candice Dupree: 20 points, 10 rebounds. Good lord. She also had three assists and three blocked shots.
Sylvia Fowles: 10 points, 7 rebounds. Four blocked shots, but also four personal fouls.
Jia Perkins: 22 points, 6 assists, 3 steals.
The starting lineup: 77 of Chicago's 99 points.

Now, let's look at the Atlanta Dream and see what the box score is trying to tell us. (I'm removing the categories of "Best Players", "Murky Middle" and "Not Up to Snuff" because they can be quite arbitrary, particularly when the dividing line is hard to draw.)

Angel McCoughtry: I'm going to go out on a limb here and write that Angel's performance was not just her best performance of the year, but the best performance by any Dream player this year, even knocking out Sancho Lyttle's 20 point-15 rebound performance against the Sun. Clearly, by any standard, McCoughtry is the Dreamer of the Game. Let me count the ways: 26 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists and a couple of steals. A +5 plus/minus.

She had only 3 personal fouls, and overfouling has been a problem for Angel all year. Not this time. Before this game began, I believe Angel was 0-for-8 from 3-point range. This time, she was 2-for-4.

I said in an earlier comment that one game doesn't really mean much. The big thing is "can they do it again"? Even crappy players can find a good game in a blue moon. I suspect that Angel not only can do it again, but she will.

Sancho Lyttle: 18 points and 6 rebounds are a nice silver medal. Part of Sancho's problem was not only that she had 4 personal fouls, but 3 blocks against. If Lyttle could have had 8 assists she might have contended, but you can't do that when you're in the paint.

Erika de Souza: I say Lyttle and de Souza so often I should follow it with "attorneys at law". ("If you've been in an auto accident...!") 12 points and 7 rebounds, but the worst plus/minus of the game with -15.

Tamera Young: Little Smooth has just fallen short of medal contention. However, this was the best game of the year for Young despite the fact that Young was once again short-changed in minutes. She bumped up her 2009 shooting percentage from around 30 percent to 35 percent. She had 9 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals in just 13 minutes played. This was a game that Young had been waiting all year for, but Little Smooth...I'm worried. If you can't shoot 40 percent, you won't make it in the W unless you're a point guard.

Jennifer Lacy: Oddly enough, Lacy is the third player who probably had her best game of the year. She had 11 points and 3 rebounds. Her +16 in plus/minus led the team.

Chamique Holdsclaw: 10 points and a couple of assists. She shot better than 50 percent, but only had one rebound.

Michelle Snow: 8 points and 4 rebounds, but 3 fouls and 2 turnovers. What has happened to Michelle Snow? She seems to have just shriveled away while playing on the Dream. She's certainly not been what I expected.

Shalee Lehning: Added really nothing to the team. She did get 4 assists, but she doesn't score any points. At least she took 3 shots in her 28 minutes on the floor, but didn't hit a single one.

Nikki Teasley: Another player who went AWOL. She only took one shot and missed it. Three personal fouls and a -11 plus/minus. Teasley played the fewest minutes of the five starters with 16.

Iziane Castro Marques: What are we going to do with you, Izi? 4 points on 2-for-8 shooting? I keep seeing you either at the bottom or near the bottom of these little lists I'm obsessed with. Someday, I swear that I'll find those pictures you have of Marynell Meadors shooting a man to death in Reno.

Coco Miller: Okay. Five minutes played. One shot, and missed it. One personal foul and two turnovers. It was a toss-up between you and Izi, but I'm going to give Coco the Bad Dream award.

Okay. Let's forget this game, and go pound that Budweiser.


Pusser said...

Lehning added nothing to the team? That's what one could assume just by looking at the boxscore.

Folks need to understand that there are aspects to the game which are not as easily quantifiable, especially for a point guard: getting the ball down court quickly and without turning it over, getting the team into the right sets, getting the ball to the right people, diving for loose balls, hustling on every play, pumping up your teammates, doing what your coach tells you to do, etc.

That's not adding to the team? That's what Lehning always brings to the floor.

Anonymous said...

The thing with Lehning is that she does bring energy and commitment, and she runs the ball down the court etc. She is not yet there when it comes to making the three pointers -- and she may never be there -- BUT the team should know this and they should be inside to get the rebound.

On EACH of her three point attempts, there were like 5 Skys under the basket to collect the ball and zero Dreams.

You might argue that she shouldn't take the shots if she can't make them, but in that horrible first half noone else was really being very effective, so at least Lehning was getting the ball somewhere near the basket: someone else just should have been there to finish the job.

DeeDee12 said...

C'mon, let's be real. Shaylee has a winning personality and does have energy. However, for as much time as she spends on the floor, she should have crazy assists, a few steals and how about some badly needed points???

DeeDee12 said...

Oh, and by the way, just an observation: Tamera Young was in the game all of about 14 minutes and managed to get 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and was just getting heated up when she hurt her ankle. Now that's adding something to the team!

Anonymous said...

So, who was running the offense during the time when the team came back from a large points deficit? Hmmm... let me think.... Oh yes, it was Shalee Lehning! This is when I get mad; people don't see all the things Shalee contributes. Her efforts may not show up in the box score but she make the team better. She and Angel were the ones who played best in this game, imho.

Anonymous said...