Making the Necessary Adjustments
Posted by Sheryl Swoopes on August 18, 2006

I thought one team showed up and one team didnít, peroid. It didnít seem like we were ready or prepared for a playoff game. Iíve said all along it doesnít really matter what youíve done in the regular season because once the playoffs start itís a completely different season. I think people thought the fact that we had beaten them three out of four in the regular season that it was going to be the same.

Swoopes and the Comets are on the brink of elimination against Sacramento.
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
Itís totally different when youíre in playoffs, especially when youíre playing the defending champions. They have a target on their backs and they know that everybody wants to dethrone them, and thatís what they want. So I thought Sacramento came out and in every aspect of the game, they beat us at it Ė rebounds, defense, hustle plays Ė just that extra effort was there. And we didnít play.

I think us losing last night just made Game 2 that much tougher. Sacramento would like nothing more than to come out tomorrow and close it out and be able to get a couple extra days of rest before the next round. On the other side of that, weíve been in this position before. We were in this position last year in Seattle. Seattle beat us Game 1 at home and we had to go to Seattle and win two there. Itís possible weíre capable of doing that, but it will depend on which team decides to show up. If we come out and play for 40 minutes and weíre aggressive and we play the way Sacramento played last night, there is no doubt in my mind we can win the game. But itís definitely not going to be easy, especially playing them at home.

Effort and being ready to play are the two biggest things. Everything we discussed in practice, we didnít do. I donít think itís any secret, Sacramento is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league. You canít afford to give them second and third shots. At the same time, anybody thatís wide open can make a shot. Offensively for them, they got what they wanted when they wanted it. We just didnít put any pressure on them defensively.

Offensively for us, we made one pass and we were trying to shoot the ball. You canít do that against Sacramento because of the defense they play. The first option most of the time isnít going to be there. Sometimes the second option isnít going to be there. Youíre going to have to move the ball from five to five and make four, five, six passes before you take a shot. Once you do that, their defense is going to let up and youíll have easy shots. I think we just felt so much pressure that everybody felt like, give me the ball and Iím going to make something happen. You canít do that against a team like Sacramento.

I didnít think that we were ready from our shootaround. We kind of went through the motions, very relaxed, very laid back, and thereís nothing wrong with that, but come playoff time, everything is critical. Every possession is critical. We just didnít approach the game like that. During warmups we came out, we were very flat, we had no energy. Sacramento came out very focused. They were prepared, mentally, physically, and they got the job done. We just flat out did not show up to play the game last night. Thatís disappointing and frustrating when itís the playoffs and you know that itís the best two out of three.

Right now, our backs are against the wall. The pressure is all on us. Sacramento is in the perfect position. They are right where they want to be.