Back to Seattle of course to face the Phoenix Mercury.
Talk about all of the basketball with none of the brand...the ball movement will be completely off, the bodies will be slow and plodding, the point guards will be horse radish, and the shooting will be starving. The only way you could appreciate this coming game is if you are hoping for both teams to get so angry at each other that they break into a needless skirmish.
In a normal universe Seattle would be giving their youngest players the most action time. Everyone knows this team, as constructed, gets frustrated and gets bogged down in droughts all throughout the game. Only problem is, Sue Bird, Ann Wauters, and Lauren Jackson are all out. Once they return, Seattle will inevitably climb. And that's what's keeping the Storm's spirits up.
What we get for this perserevence is a team trapped in a week by week abeyance with a playoff spot. The have virtually no chance of making any noise against Minnesota, and yet they will end up missing the best players in this year's draft too! Every day I pray for Phoenix to get their act together and start winning some games here and there. Every day it isn't going to happen as the players and the coaching staff are content to keep a lottery pick in Phoenix and not Seattle.
It all makes sense. This season is totally lost and the front office has even more players not long for this league than they had last year. Why face the pressure and nervous anticipation of the playoffs when you can take advantage of upcoming college players? If you don't like Diana Taurasi you certainly don't want her team to lose and drop out of playoff contention. Let her suffer stewing in the cruel soup her team has made for themselves till the end of the season.
Don't give Phoenix the chance to pull the same type of crap Los Angeles did last year. The Sparks barely missed the playoffs and miraculously won the draft, acquiring the only franchise player in the bunch. Anything can happen in the lottery, and as the Bobcats and Shock realize, the odds are NEVER in your favor.
Don't beat the Mercury....the worst punishment you could give this team is tanking and not letting them clinch the fifth seed so that they can avoid a first round sweep. Let them wallow in the misery. Let all the stories come public about what a rapidly closing championship window Diana has.
This is tough for me to say. I will never forget the indignity with how last season ended, watching the tuckered-out Storm weather injuries and setbacks, squander a monster Game 1 win, choke a huge lead away in Game 3 and wilt against a mediocre Phoenix team that went on to get its collective head handed to it in the very next round.
That still doesn't mean I want Phoenix to miss the playoffs. A sympathetic lottery pick is way to good a fate for a lady like Taurasi. It was embarrassing how anal she was in Game 3 last year, screaming at the refs at nearly every call. And picking up a technical foul AFTER you've been ejected? She's lucky LJ's legs were total jelly by that point in the game and couldn't make the free throw.
I feel especially bad for all the Storm fans who had to watch the final seconds tick away and see Diana leap out of the bench, jump up and down like a child, and yell and cuss while dancing on the Storm logo.
Why waste a win on a woman like that and give her what she wants? Let Diana continue to suffer and show her no mercy. Let her face the hopelessness of a lost season with no progress in the postseason or offseason.
Sue Bird and Brian Agler know exactly what they are doing!
HOWEVER, if the pathetic Mercury can't even beat a Storm team this flawed, then maybe the Storm-Mercury rivalry really is a thing of the past and I shouldn't waste any more emotions on it.