Keys to the Game: Storm, Aug. 1
This is where it begins; the second half of 2013 is a whole new season for the Mercury.
Related: Mercury Round Table: The Second Half | Analyzing the First Half of the Season | Penny Taylor Update | Buy Mercury Tickets
The last time these two teams played, it resulted in a 75-72 win for the Storm in Seattle.
The Mercury didn't play bad, but they didn't play particularly well either. A quick glance at the box score of that game doesn't yield any glaring deficiencies, but again, not necessarily any highlights.
Better said, it was kind of a mediocre game for Phoenix. Needless to say, this game should be viewed as a conduit to setting the tone for the rest of the 2013 season. Getting off to a quick start is imperative, both literally and metaphorically.
Here are the keys to the game for the Mercury:
No team can reach 90 points without being aggressive.
For the Mercury, every single time they've reached 90 points this season has resulted in a win. Perhaps more significantly, in those games, they've looked noticeably more aggressive and assertive. With a rested and mostly healthy team (Brittney Griner is expected to play), Phoenix has an opportunity to control the pace of the game.
However, against a team like the Storm who always plays well in Key Arena, Phoenix will have to adopt a relentless mentality from the tip -- on both ends of the floor.
I probably sound like a broken record, but this will always be a key to the game for Phoenix.
One of the things the Storm does better than any other team in the league is hold their opponents to the fewest rebounds.
Some of that has to do with their pace of play, but also their collective mentality where they always crash the glass.
With Brittney Griner expected to play, that is certainly a positive sign towards solidifying the paint. Still, against a gang-rebounding team like Seattle, Phoenix needs each player to contribute on the boards.
To reach 90 points, the Mercury needs multiple players to be near the 20-point mark.
Diana Taurasi, averaging 22.4 points, will almost certainly find a way to get her points.
Who will be the other player (or players) to step up?