Souhan: Lynx show that creativity will easily trump the hype

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 7, 2013 - 12:11 PM

The home team’s efficiency stole the show vs. 6-8 rookie Brittney Griner.

hide

Lynx forward Maya Moore displayed hustle by chasing a loose ball out of bounds in front of the Mercury’s Charde Houston.

Photo: CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Brittney Griner would have had to dunk about five times to become the story of the game Thursday night at Target Center. She might have had to dunk about a dozen times to win the game.

Faced with a 6-8 rookie known for dunking and collegiate greatness, the Lynx played with such pace and skill that there was no need for the marketing of opposing stars.

Maya Moore scored on finger-rolls over centers. In the third quarter, Lindsay Whalen flipped a behind-the-back pass to Moore, who whipped a pass to Amber Harris for a tap-in layup. Janel McCarville scored the first points of her Lynx career with a reverse layup.

The Lynx scored 60 points in a half consisting of two 10-minute quarters. That’s three points a minute. Traditionally, that has been accomplished mostly by men with large Afros and a red, white and blue basketball.

The Lynx also tied a franchise record with 30 assists, on 36 baskets, and tied a franchise low with six turnovers. Traditionally, that kind of ratio isn’t accomplished at any level of the game.

“The coaches drill that mentality into us, but that’s also who we are,” Moore said. “It is a joy to play with so many players who are not only great finishers, but great passers. Everybody wants to get an assist, or the assist to the assist. It is rare. Nobody cares who scores.”

The Lynx reserves missed a few shots down the stretch to keep their team from reaching 100 points, so the final was Minnesota 99, Phoenix 79, even though the Lynx led by as many as 35.

What’s funny about the excitement over Griner’s dunks is that in men’s basketball, the dunk is often a cliché. Even the NBA All-Star dunk competition has become a joke filled with pedestrian efforts by pedestrian players.

Passing is the best part of the game, the most creative and important team-building exercise in pro sports. What the Lynx have is a combination of internationally-renowned players who are eager to share the ball. That is an ideal far more often than it is a reality.

“That’s one thing we talk about with our team, that we don’t feel like we should ever have to take a contested shot,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. “We’re a team that when we cut hard and screen for each other and keep the ball moving from side to side, eventually we’re going to get a good shot.

“The only time you take a contested shot is if it’s 4, 3, 2, 1 on the shot clock. Otherwise, if you make one more pass, you get a wide-open shot.”

While Phoenix tried to drive the paint, or pass into the paint, the Lynx ran a free-flowing offense that created space for their three Olympians — Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Moore. The Lynx didn’t turn the ball over in the first quarter. They scored 60 points in the first half with Whalen taking only one shot.

“A lot of times we weren’t necessarily calling a play or an action,” Whalen said. “We were just flowing up and sharing the ball and making the extra play.”

“We were hard to play against tonight,” Reeve said.

Griner had two chances to dunk. Once she flew in on a fast break and the ball caromed off the back of the rim. Another time, she found a lane to the hoop, and McCarville essentially fouled her with her face. McCarville spent some time on the hardwood, then left the game, but Griner didn’t get her dunk.

“I wanted that bad enough to sacrifice my body for it,” McCarville said. “We talked about the fact that it wasn’t a big deal if she dunked. We knew it was a possibility. Obviously she can dunk at will. But it could have been a momentum changer for them. We were rolling, so I didn’t want that to happen.

“I’ve got a broke lip, but I’m good.”

Some things, you just can’t pass to your teammates.

 

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. jsouhan@startribune.com.



 

  • related content

  • Lynx roll to 20-point victory over Griner, Mercury

    Friday June 7, 2013

    Minnesota started fast and stood strong against rookie Brittney Griner, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's WNBA draft.

  • Postgame: Efficient Lynx improve to 2-0

    Thursday June 6, 2013

    Amber Harris gets the game ball after strong play vs. Brittney Griner

  • The Lynx’s Amber Harris, left, blocked a shot by Phoenix rookie Brittney Griner. Harris had three blocks — three more than the 6-8 Griner.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Boston - LP: A. Ranaudo 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: C. Morton 4
Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: U. Jimenez 8
Washington - WP: T. Roark 3 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 9
NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 6
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
Chicago WSox - WP: E. Surkamp 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: K. Herrera 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 4 FINAL
Houston - LP: N. Tropeano 2
Detroit - LP: J. Nathan 3 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: G. Perkins 4
Milwaukee - WP: B. Kintzler 3 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: K. Siegrist 2
Los Angeles - LP: D. Haren 4 FINAL
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 10
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: J. Collmenter 1
Seattle - WP: C. Smith 13 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 2
Texas - WP: N. Tepesch 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Kazmir 3
Philadelphia - LP: A. Burnett 4 FINAL
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 5
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close