I probably shouldn’t admit this, but tonight’s Game 4 of the Phoenix Mercury vs. Detroit Shock Finals series was the first WNBA game I’ve ever gone to. And while I’m admitting things, I may as well admit that I didn’t expect it to be as entertaining as a Phoenix Suns game. But I was wrong!
The D’Antoni’s attended both Phoenix Mercury home games in the WNBA Finals. (NBAE Photos)
With a 5:30 pm start time, the bulk of the Mercury fans didn’t start showing up until a little before tip-off. But by the time the National Anthem was sung, the arena had filled nicely and I thought to myself, “This is louder than I expected.” To my surprise, I hadn’t heard anything yet. I spent a couple of minutes after the anthem in an elevator and finally exited on the 3rd floor of the arena, which gave me a cool bird’s eye view of the crowd and the starting lineups. The crowd was really into the game from the very beginning and you could feel the electricity in the air.
The Finals atmosphere was great. With every loose ball the crowd was screaming. At every Shock free throw the fans on the Detroit side of the arena were making as much noise and causing as much distraction as possible, and you could just tell that the Mercury players were encouraged by the fans. In fact, it reminded me a lot of the Suns playoff games I have attended: the crowd was intense, there was a lot of electricity in the air and there were several local celebrities who attended the game.
Speaking of local celebrities, Mike D’Antoni was courtside for the second straight game, as was Dan Majerle, who is apparently a big-time fan. “I’ve watched the team all year,” he told me. “What impresses me most is they play consistently and they play together. The way they play is very effective and I’m really happy for them. They’ve done a good job.”
And while I was watching the Mercury win Game 4 by one point, it got me thinking about how great it will be when the Suns get to the NBA Finals this season (yes, I’m already making the prediction). The game itself will be a little faster and there will be a lot more dunks, but I’m not sure it will be any more physical than this one was! If you didn’t see the game, you probably think I’m exaggerating. But I’m telling you, there were flying elbows and flying bodies all over the court, all night long.
Phoenix Suns training camp starts in about two and a half weeks. If you’re anything like me, you’re counting down the days. But if you’re looking for some entertaining basketball to tide you over until the Suns season starts, I would encourage you to check out the Mercury game on Sunday at 1:30 pm on ESPN2. I can promise you won’t be disappointed.