Last night, we saw the Dream demolish the visiting New York Liberty 85-64 in a game that was in Atlanta’s control almost from the tip-off. The Liberty never really challenged and if you want to know more, I’ll send you over to Kris Willis at Peachtree Hoops for the game summary.
* This was Atlanta’s sixth consecutive victory. I was asked last night after the game what the Dream’s record for consecutive victories was, so I did a little research:
Win streaks: 6, three times (2010, 2013, 2014). The most recent 6-game win streak was in 2013 from June 14th through June 30th. Atlanta was 10-1 at the end of that streak (then Sancho Lyttle got hurt, and you know the rest). The first 6-game streak in 2010 was the one that opened the season and holds the Dream franchise record for most wins to start a season.
Losing streaks: The 17-game losing streak that started the 2008 season. We also had a 10-game losing streak that same year.
If Atlanta wins in New York tomorrow, it will be the longest winning streak in Dream history.
* Atlanta is 25-5 at Philips Arena over its last 30 regular season games.
* Over Atlanta’s 12 games, the Dream have outscored their opponents in fast break points. They did it again last night, 15 fast break points to the Liberty’s 9.
* Tiffany Hayes remains the WNBA’s leader in 3-point percentage. She is 17-for-29, hitting 58.6 percent of her 3-point attempts.
* The Liberty are at 3-10 and they've lost seven of eight on the road. Bill Laimbeer has never had two consecutive losing seasons as a WNBA head coach. Last year, the Liberty were 11-23.
Michael Cooper’s opening statement: "First of all, I thought it was very nice to beat 'Big Fat Bill Laimbeer', but seriously it was a very well-played game for our team for the simple fact we stuck with our plan and we knew we had to affect Cappie [Pondexter] or Tina Charles. I felt we did a good on both of them, so kudos to our team for just following the game plan."
Cooper on Atlanta’s turnover advantage: "Championship teams play off their defense, I feel if we can get 20-plus points off our defense, it’s going to really help our offense so we don’t have to put that strain on our offense. But again I thought we were very active in our rotations and with our hands getting deflections and steals, they just followed the game plan to a tee."
Cooper on Angel McCoughtry and the Liberty’s lack of defense : "I thought it was so much what we did. We did our job on them and made them alter their game. I know what they wanted to do was to cut us down in our transition; we were really looking to force the run. They’re a pace team; they have to control the pace of the game and I thought we did the job of setting the pace of the game."
Cooper on the upcoming road trip, which lasts until July 1st. "Championships are won on the road, and for us to hold home court advantage we are going to have to go out and win. We are 2-2 on the road, if we can continue to do 50 percent on the road that should be good enough secure home court throughout the entire playoffs. We have to go out there. Some adjustments will be made the next game; it’s hard to play a team back to back."
Cooper on emptying the bench in the third quarter: "I think our bench is going to be important because it takes the wear and tear off our starters. It’s important that we utilize our bench so we can get these players some minutes so they can feel comfortable and confident – because foul trouble, injuries, God forbid are a big part of the game of basketball, and if someone goes down or gets in foul trouble we need to know those players can come in and do a good job."
Sancho Lyttle on keeping up the Dream’s intensity: "After the All-Star break is when I think we are going to know if we are truly tested or not. Last year we were right there and then after the All-Star break we lost 15 or so. We just have to make it to the end and see what happens."
Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer on the team’s effort: "I thought we played very hard all year long -- every game, every minute. I thought this one we gave into the frustration and it showed up. "
Tina Charles: "I thought this was the first game that we gave in. Just having more pride, I don’t know whatever we need to do to win the game -- to pull it out."
Laimbeer on Charles’s performance: "There were times she was engaged and times she wasn’t engaged. She had missed some easy shots she fairly makes [and] got a little bit down, but she has to play through it."
Laimbeer on breaking a five-game losing streak: "We’ll simplify some things offensively, try to get our best scorers involved a little bit more. But overall, I think it’s individually collective pride, effort that they have to stand up."