Along with the "Candace Parker is good at basketball" meme that kept circling around in my head, I made a few observations while watching Wednesday night's Tulsa Shock vs. Los Angeles Sparks basketball game [BOXSCORE]:
I feel like I have written some sort of "new look Shock" article every month or so since the team moved to Tulsa. First it was new location, new coaches and different players, followed by more roster changes and stops on the coaching carousel, and in true carnivalesque fashion a la the merry-go-round, the ride just keeps on going. This week brings new/cut/injured players to the myriad of changes. Just another day in the life of the Tulsa Shock organization.
- Candace Parker is really super awesome great. She finished the night with 33 points on 14-of-21 shooting, nine blocks, eight rebounds and four assists. Any time that you are three measly stats away from a triple-double, you've earned your keep, at least in my book. But there is not a need to close the night by talking about how she is a candidate to cross over to the NBA. Why even go there? Let's just keep enjoying what each CP3 does in their own respective league and leave it at that.
- Yes. I know Kristi Toliver did amazing things to slay the Shock in their first meeting with the buzzer beater. Yes. I also know that she had an exorbitant amount of turnovers in that game and only three tonight. Yes. I know. Thanks for reminding me, though. But really, the 14-of-14 from the line is what was more noteworthy to me. And the fact that Tulsa didn't press Toliver and the Sparks much at all despite their success in the early goings of the season.
- I really like Nneka Ogwumike. When I saw her at Stanford IRL last winter I developed a mini basketball crush on her. And now that she's thriving in the league, she continues to make me smile when I watch her play. She is unequivocally the 2012 Rookie of the Year, and I think when all is said and done she might deserve some serious consideration for other league-wide and not rookie restrictive awards. I see great stuff from the youngster every time I get a glimpse of her on the court and tonight was no different (12 points, 4-of-7 FG%, 4-of-6 FT, six rebounds).
Courtney Paris will be a nice asset in the middle for Tulsa. As much as it pains me to write those words (GO POKES!) she looked really solid in her debut for the team. Paris finished with 11 points and eight rebounds in not quite 18 minutes on the court. She basically took the spot of Lynetta Kizer and started helping immediately, something that wasn't happening with the rookie's limited presence. Before tonight I would have said that after the Olympic break when Liz Cambage comes back, Paris would quite possibly be looking for a job. Now I think there might be some other folks waiting to see the pink slip in their locker come August. Paris will be more than just a ticket-seller in Tulsa this season.
Welcome back, Amber Holt. Amber's stat line wasn't particularly stellar in her first game of the season (five points, two boards), but I thought she did a solid job when she was on the court for the most part. I wish luck to the beat writers in Tulsa trying to get quotes from Ms. Holt, one of the quietest locker room interviews ever.
I like watching the Shock. Even though sometimes it's a torturous experience from a fan perspective, it's always interesting. You can watch them run the gamut of good basketball mixed with atrocious shooting shaken up with turnover creation and a side of defensive intensity garnished with boneheaded decisions within the span of just a couple minutes on most nights. And on some rarefied occasions the team exits the hardwood hooting and hollering and basking in the glow of an elusive victory. On others, rather than a last-second win, you see the buzzer-beating shot fall in favor of the other guys. But it's nearly always fun, or at least in spurts, and who doesn't love the perpetual underdog?