It just doesn’t always work out.
The human element dictates when the best preparation will still see a team come out at less than optimum level. The team that can fight through those periods of malaise and earn a victory is one to be commended. And watched.
On Tuesday that was the situation facing the New York Liberty. Coming off a 2-5 road trip, they were operating at significantly less than peak performance. They were able to come away with an 81-76 victory over the visiting Indiana Fever.
The fourth quarter proved decisive. Tied at 70 with two minutes remaining, the Liberty scored while getting the all-important stops on the defensive end. They sealed the deal from the charity stripe. Game analysis and film study allows you to review, making technical alterations and tweaks on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. The intangible that cannot be quantified is effort, especially when the pulse of the game is in balance.
If coach Bill Laimbeer were to grade his Liberty team’s entire game performance, he might have given them a C, and that could be a product of grading on the curve. When it all came down to the last 120 do-or-die seconds, the final grade could be not just an E for effort but an A-plus. That is an admirable trait for a team to show. Winning on a night when you are far from your best.
Some of the usual Madison Square Garden concession stand fare:
A look at Indiana's pregame stretching exercises:
Courtside at The Garden:
Briann January, on the offensive attack for the Fever:
Official Tom Mauer, a WNBA and college veteran:
Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer, all smiles after a victory:
Looking out at midtown Manhattan from the MSG media room: