Shock center Kara Braxton is already dancing along as we musically break down Game 4 of the WNBA Finals.
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Maybe my mind has been too focused on basketball during this incredibly exciting Finals series, but as I meandered through rocky twists and switchbacks, I couldn't believe the hidden messages coming through the sweat-drenched headphones of my portable audio player. I had it on random play, and with each tune that came on, there was a clear reference to something about tonight's Game 4.
So without further ado, I give you both my afternoon playlist and a brief glance at tonight's matchup between the Shock and Mercury:
"Two Step," Dave Matthews Band
Tonight in Phoenix, the Shock go for an improbable two step of sorts, a second win in two games here at US Airways Center, where the Mercury were an impressive 14-5 on the season prior to Tuesday night's defeat in Game 3.
"Baby Got Sauce," G Love and Special Sauce
To avoid this two step, the Mercury have to bring that special sauce to their run-and-gun style tonight. Also in dire need of something special is the Phoenix shooting, which was clearly less than special in their Game 3 loss Tuesday, when they shot 34.7 percent from the floor, including 16.1 percent from three, and missed their final 11 shots.
"Kielbasa," Tenacious D
This one pretty much speaks for itself. Detroit will hope to continue its tenacious D against the high-octane Mercury offense. Meanwhile, Phoenix will continue to clamp down on the Detroit bigs, but will have to come out to contest Shock guards Deanna Nolan and Katie Smith, who both stepped up and knocked down big shots from the outside in Game 3.
"Hips Don't Lie," Shakira
OK, I'm a little embarrassed to admit I have this in my library, but moving right along... Mercury All-Stars Penny Taylor and Cappie Pondexter have both had quietly solid series, but both hope to make greater impacts tonight. Pondexter and her quickly shifting and deceptive hips are capable of taking nearly any defender in the league off the dribble, though Nolan, an All-WNBA Defensive first teamer, has done well to keep her outside to this point in the series. Meanwhile, though Detroit may outsize her on the low block, Taylor is quite a bit quicker than the less-than-100-percent Cheryl Ford at the four.
"Losing Hope," Jack Johnson
I am expecting Phoenix to come out with their guns a' blazin tonight in Game 4. But if Detroit is able to weather the early storm and stick with the Mercury, especially if Phoenix continues to struggle from the outside, I wouldn't be surprised to see them get down on themselves and lose a bit of the youthful hope that makes them so exciting to watch.
"Higher," Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise (featuring Kid Rock)
Both RBBS (a terrific band that mixes Southern blues with soul and rock) and Kid Rock are Detroit-bred acts, which gives a clear advantage to the ladies from the Motor City. But aside from that, it's tough to ascend any higher than the best in your sport, and the Shock are hoping to do precisely that for the second straight season and the third time in five years.
"Maps," Arcade Fire
Yeah, I know this is a cover of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, but I'm sticking to the version I listened to. If the Shock don't bring it like they did in Game 3 tonight, the Mercury will need maps to get to the Motor City for a deciding Game 5 Sunday in Detroit.
"Tonight She Comes," The Cars
Yes, tonight she comes… but who will play the "she" role in Game 4? Who will be the player to step up and take control? The Mercury no doubt hope it's Diana Taurasi, whose 30 points led them to a blowout win in Game 2 in Detroit.
"Crystal Clear," Beck
So all of these musical omens have made things crystal clear, right? Not so much. We have no idea what will happen tonight, and that's why we'll all tune in to Game 4 at 8:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN2.