The Seattle Storm travel to Tulsa to take on Nolan Richardson's Shock, who have adopted his "40 Minutes of Hell" defense. However, Storm forward Lauren Jackson has been making life difficult on opponents in her own right.

Storm travel to Tulsa to take on Nolan Richardson's Shock

The Seattle Storm travel to Tulsa to take on Nolan Richardson's Shock, who have adopted his "40 Minutes of Hell" defense.

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Storm rally to beat Tulsa, but lose Bird

The Storm used a season-high 21 points from Svetlana Abrosimova to rally from a 13-point second half deficit to beat the Tulsa Shock 83-72 on Sunday afternoon.

Unfortunately, it didn’t come without a price — for the second time this season, point guard Sue Bird left the game early due to injury, as described by Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans who was at the game:

It wasn’t without another loss, however. The defensive pressure got to Storm guard Sue Bird, who was swarmed on an offensive play two minutes into the game, suffering a lower back injury. She was evaluated during the game and will have another examination when the team returns to Seattle on Monday. Her status for Tuesday’s game against San Antonio is questionable.

It’s Bird’s second injury of the season. She hyper-flexed her left knee against the Silver Stars last week, resting the injury and playing 35-minutes in a come-from-behind win against Indiana on Friday.

While it is good that she didn’t reaggravate the same injury, back injuries have a tendency to linger. Beyond the San Antonio game, the question for the Storm is how long Bird might have to remain out.

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Sue Bird leaves the game with a lower back pain

Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird left the Shock game two minutes in with a lower back problem. Apparently, she was working on it before the game and it flared up during the game, forcing her to leave.

The Storm initially reported that her return is “possible”, but have now announced that she will be out for the game and re-evaluated tomorrow.

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Storm travel to Tulsa to take on Nolan Richardson's Shock

Long-time basketball fans may remember Nolan Richardson as the University of Arkansas men's basketball coach who led the Razorbacks to back to back championship games in 1994 and 1995, winning it all in 1994.

Now he brings his "40 Minutes of Hell" system to the Tulsa Shock, who will host the Seattle Storm today at 1 pm.

However, after suffering only two losing seasons in just over 20 years of coaching men's college basketball, the Shock's season has been a new experience: after starting 3-3 the Shock have dropped seven straight games sending them straight to the Western Conference cellar. That might seem to bode well for the 12-2 Storm who are rolling after a physical win against the Indiana Fever. Yet bear in mind that during the pre-season, the Shock's pressure defense did cause the Storm some problems, as described by Kevin Pelton of StormBasketball.com:

This is the Storm's first regular-season game against the Tulsa Shock, but the team did get some experience with Tulsa's style during the preseason. A 90-80 loss at the BOK Center definitely provided some lessons, as the Storm turned the ball over 33 times. Part of that was the nature of the preseason - Tanisha Wright started having not even practiced with the team - but the Storm did show a learning curve during the game, curbing the turnovers with the first unit in the game during the third quarter before it was turned over to young players and invitees.

In the Storm's two losses, turnovers were among the biggest problems, so it's something to watch for. However, the Storm's frontline has consistently overwhelmed opponents on the boards, particularly Storm forward Lauren Jackson who had a field day against the Indiana Fever, as described on SBN's Swish Appeal:

Jackson only missed two shots all game. They came during that third quarter. Both came on second (or fourth, as the case me be) chance shots after offensive rebounds. She did add to her point total with a free throw after an odd technical foul was called on Fever guard Shavonte Zellous.

So hard fought third quarter aside, Jackson scored 27 points on 9-9 shooting, 4-4 from three point land, and shot 6-6 from the free throw line. As though that weren't enough she added 4 offensive rebounds and 2 blocks.

That's just ridiculous.

And that ridiculousness comes before even getting to the full extent of what Jackson did defensively.

Regardless of whether Richardson's system works in the WNBA, this game will be more about the Shock finding a way to contend with the Storm's talented personnel.

Related Links:

Storm: Insider Preview - Storm at Shock

Nolan Richardson finds new challenge as Shock coach

Name of the game; triples and turnovers - New York takes care of Tulsa Friday

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