Good morning all. Hope you are well. Here in Madison, we are flooded thanks to some crazy rains earlier in the week, and it’s raining again as of this writing. The lakes are high, the Yahara “River” has overflowed leading to several street closings. This is about half a mile from my house:
This is nearby Tenney Park:
Lovely for ducks.
Johnson Street again:
Anywho, we’re wet. On to basketball things.
The NBA is expected to enact a few rule changes for the upcoming season, the most significant of which is re-setting the shot clock to 14 instead of 24 after an offensive rebound. This rule has been in place in FIBA for a few years, and in the WNBA for the last couple of seasons. Having seen it in action in the W, I like this change. It doesn’t have a huge effect on game play--many offensive rebounds are immediately put back up—but it does subtly speed up the rhythm of the game. On long offensive rebounds, the team in possession can no longer spend 10 seconds getting reset before going into action. They have to get right back into attack mode.
The league is also trying to simplify the clear path rule by taking away some of the subjectivity to its application.
The second round was played last night. The Washington Mystics blew out a clearly exhausted Los Angeles Sparks squad 96-64 in a game that was never in doubt. All five Mystics starters were in double figures, led by Elena Delle Donne’s 19. They shot 57 percent from the field and dominated from the outset. They were both the better team and by far the more rested one, with the Sparks having changed coasts multiple times in the past week.
The Sparks managed only 35 percent from the floor, and Candace Parker’s 16 led the team. She was the only player in double figures for the Sparks. Two nights after personally seeing off the Lynx, Chelsea Gray managed only seven points on 2-11 from the field. The Sparks and the Lynx, the two recently dominant franchises in the league, have both been eliminated in the single-elimination rounds of the playoffs.
In the other game, the Phoenix Mercury had too much star power for the Connecticut Sun, and pulled away late on the road for a 96-86 win. The Mercury’s three big stars—Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, and DeWanna Bonner combined for 77 points, and the Sun simply could not keep up with the onslaught. Despite making 9-18 threes and winning the turnover battle, the Sun simply could not stop the Mercury’s shot makers, and Griner’s six blocks helped limit the Sun inside.
FIBA Women’s World Cup
Following the end of the WNBA playoffs, there’s going be yet more high level women’s basketball. The World Cup takes place beginning September 22nd in Spain.
The U.S. is once again the prohibitive favorite, and will include a couple of our favorite Lynx: Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles. The depth of the U.S. squad is nuts, and any loss during the tournament would be a huge upset.
Other teams to watch include Australia, featuring the dominant Liz Cambage, and the host country Spain.
That’s about all I got this morning. What’s on your mind?