Remember that old line from the movie Major League?
"We've won two games in a row. If we win tonight, its called a winning streak. IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE."
If the Dream can beat the San Antonio Silver Stars on Friday, they'll have a winning streak going. I'm not saying that will happen.... but you gotta root for 'em. From ESPN.com:
"We lost enough games for a lifetime," Lacy said. "We're just resilient. We keep fighting and we find a way to come back. We make scrappy plays, we somehow find baskets. That's been a character of our team the whole season, it's just that now we're finding a way to pull out those W's."
A sudden increase in defensive intensity in the second half led to a Minnesota collapse as they started turning the ball over and forcing up shots. After such an effective first half, I admit I tuned out much of the 3rd quarter out until I realized the Dream were so close.
And for all the shots Betty Lennox seemed to force up in the first half, she got hot in the second half and came up with big shots when her team needed them most.
But something that jumps out at me is that Lennox played a much more efficient game than you'd expect from a player who spends so much time with the ball in her hands looking to score.
The Dream have been the worst team in the league in rebounding differential this season -- they have been consistently out rebounded by approximately 7 rebounds a game by opponents. Allison Bales' rebounding and defense gave them a huge lift and allowed them to initiate the fast break and use the quickness of their guards to their advantage. Kristin Haynie's 5 assists and 3 steals against one turnover kept the Dream in rhythm. Ivory Latta's aggressiveness and seemingly endless intensity in the 2nd and 3rd quarters kept the Dream in the game.
People compare Lennox to Allen Iverson but may forget that Iverson had an entire team built around him to complement his scoring ability. When the Philadelphia 76ers made the Finals in 2001, he had some very good distributors playing with him in Eric Snow and Aaron McKie and a slew of defensive players backing him up, including Dikembe Mutombo. I don't think the Dream are quite there yet, but eventually they will have to make that choice -- build the whole thing around Lennox or trade her to get better complementary pieces.
I sometimes cringe at all of Lennox's shooting, but Atlanta got into a good rhythm in the second half and disrupted the Lynx's rhythm. If they can continue to do that and Bales can provide some offensive firepower in the paint, the Dream should be able to surprise some teams that are taking them for granted after their slow start.
The Pleasant Dreams blog had a post a few days ago analyzing the Bales/Mann trade using Diamond Rating... turns out his assessment that "...Bales might have something extra to offer if you give her time." could be pretty accurate.