Now that the regular season is complete, the Sparks can enjoy a luxury that has become quite irregular over the past two months:
This odd 2020 bubble season in the WNBA delivered games at an unprecedented pace. With games played almost every other day, the Sparks chose not to practice for most of the year.
Practice later became even rarer, as the Sparks played eight games in 14 days to end the year. For an experienced team like Los Angeles, the extra rest for tired legs and bodies outweighed any extra time in the gym.
But now the regular season has ended. The Sparks finished 15-7, good for third place and a bye for the second round. That single-elimination game will be played on Thursday, September 17 against the lowest-seeded team that survives the first playoff round.
And with some real free time for their next game, the Sparks can finally spend some time in the gym improving their craft.
“It’s going to be very important,” said coach Derek Fisher after Saturday’s loss to Las Vegas. I think that when you are trying to form new habits or try to maintain and maintain older ones, you have to practice them in order to maintain and maintain them and to build new ones. “
Still, the priority, Fisher says, is to rest the team between now and Thursday. The Sparks played games without four rotation players along the track. Starting guard Sydney Wiese is still out with a sprained ankle, while striker Tierra Ruffin-Pratt missed the last two games with a dislocated shoulder.
But there are still things to work on in practice. Fisher mentioned refining the offensive execution and working on pollution-free defenses.
He explained: “ Especially against good playoff teams, we cannot put them on the free-throw line too much in the postseason. ”
Unsurprisingly, Sparks forward Candace Parker feels the focus of practice should be on defense, an area she’s been highlighting all season, as the team waits for which team will face it in the playoff opener.
“We don’t know who we’re going to play against, so all we can do is focus on ourselves and try to get better,” said Parker. “I think it will help because we’re not playing 40 minutes of grueling basketball, so we can rest and focus on ourselves.”