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The Sun Rise Over the Sparks

Connecticut Sun vs. Los Angeles Sparks - 6/21/15 WNBA Pick,

Connecticut Sun vs. Los Angeles Sparks – 6/21/15 WNBA Pick,

By Johnni Matthews

The Los Angeles Sparks playing in front of forty-nine hundred fans on Father’s Day at Staples Center gave the fans reason for HOPE this season as they played another hard fought game against a league leading team, the Connecticut Sun.  The Sparks were unable to send the fans home with their first victory of season, as the short bench continued to exploit fatigue issues allowing the Sun to defeat the Sparks 76-68 to improve their record to 6-1, while the Sparks dip to 0-4.

The Sparks gave the Sun all they could handle in the first half, increasing a single digit first quarter lead to a double digit, ten point lead by halftime at 40-30.  All of the Sparks starters contributed offensively with a balance attack led by Jantel Lavender’s double -double 17 points and 10 boards. Center, Marianna Tolo and shooting guard, Farhiya Abdi starting for the injured Erin Phillips each had 12 points while forward, Jennifer Lacy shot 3-4 from behind the arc for 9 points.

Veteran, Temeka Johnson played her best game of the season finishing the game with a double- double on 15 points, including 7-7 from the charity stripe and 10 assists before fouling out with forty seconds to play in the game.

Playing with only eight players for the second consecutive game, the Sparks made costly turnovers in the last two minutes of the game due to fatigue.  The sixteen turnovers compared to only eight by the Sun which led to 21 points proved to be key in deciding the game.  The Sparks was able to capitalize for 12 points on the eight turnovers by the Sun.

The Connecticut Sun prevailed in three of the five major statistics against the Sparks with 12 steals standing out the most in the victory.  Sun guard, Alex Bentley had a game high 21 points, 3 steals and no turnovers as she had help from nine teammates who scored at least two points or more.

The Connecticut Sun assured themselves a tie for the league’s best record with the Tulsa Shock who knocked off the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA’s marquee game of the day.

The Los Angeles Sparks get ready for a three game road trip to Washington, Connecticut and New York before returning home to Staples Center on Thursday, July 2 to face the San Antonio Stars at 7:30 p.m.

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!