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Lynx Trio Too Much For Sparks

Minnesota-Lynx-vs-Los-Angeles-Sparks-09-12-2013-630x419By Johnni Matthews

The Minnesota Lynx’s big three of Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen are difficult for any of the WNBA teams to deal with on a nightly basis, but the Los Angeles Sparks found out it’s even more difficult when you’re shorthanded of players!  The Los Angeles Sparks had only eight players in uniform for their second home game in two days at Staples Center against the league leading Minnesota Lynx.

The Minnesota Lynx who are in a three way tie for the WNBA’s best record had to come from behind to earn the victory against the hungry winless LA Sparks.  Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus combined for 44 of the team’s 67 points while point guard, Lindsay Whalen dished out seven dimes to her fellow teammates on their way to a 67-52 win over the Los Angeles Sparks.

The Los Angeles Sparks held a five point lead at the half 28-23, but the absence of veterans, Alana Beard, Nneka Ogwumike and a cold shooting Erin Phillips didn’t spell victory at the end of the game.  Jantel Lavender continues to lead the Sparks offensively scoring a double with 12 points and 13 rebounds while center, Marianna Tolo shot 5 of 6 from the field to score 10 points.  It was a tough shooting night for Erin Phillips only chipping in 6 points on 3 of 12 shooting from the field.

The Sparks actually outrebounded the Lynx 32-28, but the cold shooting from the field at only 39% compared to the Lynx’s nearly 53% shooting was the difference of the game.  Neither team played aggressive enough to get any easy points at the charity stripe with just eleven free throws shot in the entire forty eight minute game!  The Lynx shot 4 of 7 and the Sparks just 1 of 4.

The victory kept Minnesota Lynx 4-1 in a three way tie for league’s best record with the Connecticut Suns and the Tulsa Shock.  The Los Angeles Sparks drop to 0-3 at the early stages of the WNBA season.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Sparks as they will have three days to prepare for another league leading team, the Connecticut Sun who comes to town, Sunday June 21st to complete an early three game home stand at Staples Center for the Los Angeles Sparks.

It’s Coming Back to Cali!

Warriors 2015 NBA Champs

Warriors win NBA Finals in character, being themselves, EXPLOSIVE!

By Johnni Matthews

The scene at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio after Game 6 of the NBA Finals was a somber one for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans as they watched the Golden State Warriors celebrate and hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy on their court.  The Warriors outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97 to win the series 4-2.  It is the first championship for the Warriors since the 1975 Warriors team led by under hand free throw player and sharp shooter, Rick Barry accomplished the goal against the Washington Bullets led by Wes Unseld.

Forget the statistics on this game, just know that Stephen Curry, Finals MVP, Andre Iguodala, splash brother, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Shawn Livingston and the rest of the team were focused, on point outstanding in their road to this NBA Championship!

For the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron was LeBron simply GREAT, but fatigued, J.R. Smith showed up with some timely three pointers, Triston Thompson making his presence felt on the boards, but Matthew Dellavedova was spent out of energy forcing Coach Blatt to play Shumpert on Curry most of the game as he did in Game 5.  The Cavaliers simply couldn’t match the energy, speed and depth of the Warriors without a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.  NBA fans will never know if having the two All-Stars on the court with LeBron James would have helped the King crown the city of Cleveland with their first NBA Championship!

NBA Rookie Coach, Steve Kerr made all the significant adjustments to out coach Cleveland’s Head Coach, David Blatt who stuck to a short rotation, never playing former NBA Champion and All-Star Shawn Marion who announced his retirement after the conclusion of this season.

What a night to remember for all Warriors’ fans and the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Cavs found themselves out of gas!  It was evident by Game 4 that several players on the Cavaliers squad was just simply out of gas, but still continued to play scrappy enough to murk up the game to give themselves a chance to win.  It was simply too much of the Golden State Warriors being themselves, running, bagging threes from all over the perimeter, and playing just enough tough defense to capture the beautiful gold Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

The jingle by a famous rap/actor artist, “I’m going back to Cali, Cali, Cali…I’m going back to Cali, Cali…Well the NBA Championship Trophy is coming back to Cali, a state where Mr. Larry O’Brien feels right at HOME!

 

LA Sparks in a Storm Lose Home Opener

Photo credit: Nick Koza

Photo credit: Nick Koza

By Johnni Matthews

Home openers for the Los Angeles Sparks bring back a lot of memories at Staples Center over the past 18 years of coverage.

The Sparks just as many WNBA teams are rebuilding their organizations to maintain their role as one of the marquee summer attractions for female professional sports.

Photo credit: Nick Koza

Photo credit: Nick Koza

The LA Sparks had great fan support for the 2015 Home opener against the Seattle Storm at Staples Center.  Owner, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and his wife, Cookie were sitting courtside with another Laker legend, Kobe Bryant at Staples Center to support the LA Sparks.

Season ticket holder, Producer/Actress Vivica Fox was also at courtside supporting the LA Sparks in the home opener against the Seattle Storm.

The Sparks started the game with a lot of energy feeding off of the Staples Center fans.  New Head Coach, Brian Agler who was the Storm’s Head Coach for seven WNBA seasons is very familiar with the players, but was unable to get a victory against his former team dropping the second game in eight days 60-54 to them.

Playing without star player, Nneka Ogwumike, and welcoming back home veteran, Temeka Johnson a former LA Spark fan favorite and feisty point guard!

With all the new faces on the Sparks team, it may take a few more games before the team gels the way Coach Agler expects.

The Sparks were in control of the game most of the first half shooting nearly fifty percent from the field while the Storm shot a low 33% from the field.  The Sparks took a ten point lead into halftime while holding Seattle Storm’s All-Star, Sue Bird scoreless.  The 34-24 halftime lead dwindled in the third quarter as the Sparks began to turn the ball over and take tough shots leading to a poor second half performance.

Photo credit: Nick Koza

Photo credit: Nick Koza

The Sparks finished the game shooting 38.6% while the Storm didn’t burn the nets shot 38.9% from the field.  The slight field goal percentage in the second half proved to be enough to squeak out the 60-54 victory.

Sue Bird didn’t score until 6:50 seconds left in the game, but she was able to bring the Storm within two points before taking the lead at 4:43 mark on back to back baskets by Abby Bishop who led the Storm with 18 points and the team was able to secure the victory.

Veteran, Alana Beard said, “We just lost our focus in the second half and we came up short tonight.”  Beard also noted there were several positive times the team executed properly and stuck to the scouting reports, so there are things to build on and correct in order for the team to be better the next game.

Sparks forward, Jantel Lavender led the team in scoring with 12 points while Alana Beard and Erin Phillips added 10 each.

Well, the next game is a short turn-around when the Sparks welcome the Minnesota Lynx to Staples Center on Tuesday, June 16th.  The game tips off at 7:30 p.m.