Lets just get one thing perfectly clear. No matter how good Game 2 is, the chance of it being anywhere close to the kind of epic Finals battle that Game 1 is about 5%. So where does that leave us?
Will the Fever try and slow down the game and control tempo? The answer to that question is, no.
Fever Coach Lin Dunn in this morning's shoot around gave her offense a grade of an A-. She was unhappy with her team's defensive play and talked about the need to do a better job on the boards and to do a better job on rotations but she has no intention of slowing things down when the ball is in her team's hands.
After watching tape of the game she said this, "I counted the points. There's goes 3 points, there goes 6, there goes 2, there goes 8. We gave up about 25 points Tuesday night. I thought we should have won 116 to 90."
To me that seems a bit optimistic. What she is saying is that her team that only goes about 7 players deep is supposed to put in 100% effort on the defensive end chasing the Mercury all over the floor on the break and then also hustling to help and close out in the half court and then also run and score quickly on the offensive end.
I asked Dunn if her team could do it and she bristled at the notion saying that she thought her team held the pace just fine. She agreed that the Mercury have a deeper bench and almost seemed to resent the fact the Phoenix is bringing both Bonner and Taylor in as reserves but she didn't signal any intention of trying to slow things down.
The Fever players might not be on the same page with that plan.
After Game 1, Katie Douglas talked about the need to be more selective with their shots and not get caught up playing the run and gun. Ebony Hoffman, who said her ankle was fine after rolling it Tuesday night, said it was a coaching decision.
"We just need to play better defense and with that we will probably be a little bit tired," said Hoffman about the Fever game plan.
I would look for Tamika Catchings to bounce back offensively in this game. She said she was tight all day before the first game and wasn't able to get into any kind of rhythm after picking up some early fouls. She said she was too excited and too anxious and that tonight she will be more prepared.
Catchings said that she will be more aggressive tonight and that he teammates need her to shoot the ball. She felt like her passing up shots that she normally takes contributed to her team's poor offensive rebounding as they were used to the ball going up at a certain point.
The Mercury were by no means satisfied with their win.
I asked Phoenix reserve forward Brooke Smith for her court-side and locker room perspective on Game 1 and how the team was feeling. As strange as it might sound after winning the game with a record breaking performance, the team feels like it can play better. Diana didn't have a great shooting night and as Brooke said, "There wasn't a whole lot of defense in general."
For those Mercury fans that are wondering where Brooke was for Game 3 versus the Sparks, she was at her sisters wedding which had been scheduled long in advance of the playoff schedule. She was sad to miss the game and kept up with score via black berry but she simply couldn't miss her sisters wedding!
Cappie Pondexter was not in a joking mood. She looked as intent and as serious as I've seen her all season. It was same look she had when I talked to her in the locker room immediately after Game 1. She says she's fine and is all business.
Cappie also wasn't pleased with her team's Game 1 performance. She said the intensity and energy levels were not consistent and the team only played about 25 or 30 minutes of good basketball. She is looking for her team to give a full 40 minute effort tonight.
Obviously Coach Gaines will continue to push the tempo and expects the Fever to make some defensive adjustments. He will have his team stay a little closer to Ebony Hoffman tonight and not let her get into such a good rhythm.
I have to hand it to Corey for sticking to his guns all season long. There is not a single point in this season or post season where he's wavered from his strategy. The fact that the Fever are willing to run and try and keep up with his team has got to make him happy.
Both teams seem loose at shoot around. The Mercury seemed about normal. The Fever were incredibly loose. I haven't followed them enough to know what their "norm" is but they were seriously goofing off which could just be what they do and it could be a bit of nerves...I can't say.