Monday, August 11, 2014

Fever 90, Liberty 76: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

NEW YORK CITY -­ There are times you put aside the Xs and Os. The offenses, defenses, sets, transition attacks, all are virtually meaningless in the assessment. What it all boils down to, is if you do not have the inner fortitude and sense of purpose, there is not a trick play available to compensate.

On Sunday, the Indiana Fever visited the "World’s Most Famous Arena," exiting with a much-needed 90-­76 decision over the host New York Liberty. In danger of not qualifying for a playoff berth for the first time in a decade, the Fever snapped a three-game losing streak. The Liberty were coming off a home win against Connecticut two nights earlier, with hopes of securing a crucial Eastern Division victory. It was not to be.

At the first quarter buzzer, Indiana led 24-­12. Already the telltale signs were there. The Liberty reverted to the old habit of turning the ball over. Defensively, they failed to get out on a number of closeouts, and paid the price as the Fever perimeter shooters took advantage. Indiana shot 54% from three (7 of 13) on the afternoon.

Individually, former Tennessee star Tamika Catchings put on a show. The 6­-1 forward scored a game high 29 points, burying four of five attempts from long distance, but this was not about one opposing player having an outstanding performance.

On the Liberty side, head coach Bill Laimbeer stressed it was not about one of his players either. Rather, each individual must collectively dig down, make the daily commitment and be prepared to compete for the duration of practices and games.

It is a process that normally doesn’t happen overnight. The problem for the Liberty, though, is the season clock is ticking.

No "supermoon," but the Garden lights are dimmed for Liberty introductions:
A New York dance academy anxiously awaits taking the floor for a halftime performance:
Jump ball situations can try officials. Here, Erlana Larkins of Indiana (No. 2) seemingly shares their pain:
Tamika Catchings of the Fever with a picturesque free throw follow through:
Daly Dose colleague Jason Schott would have been disappointed, as there were no Carnegie Deli delights today:
Yours truly heading to press row for the second half with some special company, the Indiana players:

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