Washington Mystics vs Los Angeles Sparks

WNBA Sparks vs.Mystics: Los Angeles is still learning how to close games

Sparks have played five home games this season, four of which have been with one possession in the last minute. Despite having a double-digit lead in the second half in three of those contests (against Mercury, Wings, and Mystics), Los Angeles allowed each of those teams to draw or take the lead in their dwindling game moments.

The annoying pattern raised its ugly head again on Tuesday against Washington, as Sparks squandered a 14-point lead in the last five minutes and Natasha Cloud remained on the line for three free throws to tie the match by 2.5 seconds. to play. missed the second cloud – Reminds us of Arike Ogunbowale a few weeks ago Los Angeles also escaped, but the ending was more tense than it should have been.

Coach Fred Williams said after the game. “But the main thing for us is to shut down our games, we shut down this game and we got to W.

“I thought what hurt us was that we weren’t close enough to three point shots and that put them back in. The cloud hit a couple in there to make it for them, and then all of a sudden, I had a two point ball game or a tie game, so I’m really proud that we got stuck there It was a game experience for young ladies.”

During the pre-match, Fred Williams highlighted Natasha Cloud as the player Sparks will have to contain. Proven to insight in IV.
Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

A 31-point layoff in the fourth quarter highlighted defensive Sparks’ struggles of late. And that was definitely part of the problem – going into the clouds and Alicia Clarke losing from a shove on the offensive rebound are unwarranted mistakes. But there were also problems with the attack, poor operation from Los Angeles led to transformations, and mystics took advantage of these gifts.

In three quarters, Sparks seemed really fluid on the attack, the cleanest since moving from Derek Fisher to Williams. The decision to teeter mostly between Britney Sykes and Jordan Canada helped maximize the team’s spacing, with at least one Christie Tolliver, Lexi Brown, and Katie Lou Samuelson on the field at all times, and two at most minutes. The strong ground balance of attack meant that Los Angeles was better prepared in transitional defense, and Washington only had four quick break points in the first 30 minutes.

In the fourth, possibly because Brown was tied with a sprained ankle, Sparks ran more first defensive formations that were limited with no spacing, specifically with Sykes and Canada together in the backcourt. These two pitched for 3:35, with Sparks being outdone by nine. On a related note, the team made six turnovers in the period leading up to the Mystics’ 13 points. The good operation that Los Angeles demonstrated earlier in the game was nowhere to be found.

After Mike Thibault evaluated and clouded the techniques that allowed the Sparks to extend their lead to 14, here’s how the subsequent offensive property in Los Angeles went:

  • Bad pass from Canada to the roller Olivia Nelson-Ododa
  • Nelson-Ododa commits a false offensive posting (to be fair, this call is suspicious)
  • Sykes pull-up jumper as Liz Cambage deflects her defender
  • Cambage offensive foul while Shakira Austin was sent off

Have you noticed that there is no player in any of those offensive sequences? How about All-Star Nneka Ogwumike, who finished the game 9 out of 13 only from the field? All of the following three possessions also ruled out Ogwumike, with Canada having the ball in her hands every time, including inexplicable loneliness against Alisha Clark. As former Seattle Storm teammates, she really should know Canada better.

Interestingly enough, even though LA was playing its best defensive zone, the defense still struggled for stopping points. With the Sparks unable to force a turnover, they were unable to get into the open court for easy shots, where they had excelled earlier.

The good news is that Los Angeles built enough cushion early on to withstand the late run in Washington. Sparks’ depth proved superior – both Chiney Ogwumike and Canada had double-digit efforts to score from the bench, even Nelson-Ododa cut in six. Sykes’ start helped limit Cloud and Ariel Atkins early on (the pair had just 17 points ahead of fourth), and the hosts were active in passing lanes throughout, knowing the Mystics would have to rely on ball movement without isolation center Elena Delle Donne. .

Los Angeles has also been able to turn to Nneka Ogwumike for the game’s biggest plays. The captain made herself available when sparks needed to enter the ball once in 10 seconds to play, and then made their two free throws. When Washington needed an offensive rebound to tie the match at Cloud’s last free throw, Ogwumike secured possession and finished the comeback.

While the rest of the team learns how to exonerate themselves in clutch situations, Ogwumike already knows how to get the job done. Relying on them frequently can help Sparks with some of the game’s late implementation issues.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.