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Link roundup: Bird returns to record 11 points and 7 assists in 75-62 win over the Sparks

After Friday's practice, Storm coach Brian Agler said that Bird’s back injury was behind them.

In the Storm's 75-62 victory over the Sparks, Bird made it official.

Kathy Goodman: You gotta have heart
Last 10 minutes of basketball. We started the fourth quarter with a shot-clock violation and our first missed free throws of the game, but then we again went on a scoring run to cut Seattle’s lead to just three points. The arena was on its feet, but back-to-back three-pointers by Sue Bird and Tanisha Wright ended our celebration. Seattle’s superior depth and experience doomed us.

Nevertheless, Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times reports that Bird still didn’t look 100%.

Game thread: Seattle at Los Angeles
BIRD NOT BACK: Bird looks like her normal self, but isn’t 100 percent back from suffering from back spasms this week. She has six assists, but is 1 of 5 from three-point range. No worries, back-to-back three-pointers by Cash to nullify Milton-Jones’ shooting has Seattle up 54-42 with 5:01 remaining in the third quarter.

That said, at this point in a professional sports season, it would probably be difficult to find many players who are truly at 100%. Even last night, Lauren Jackson, who finished with 20 points and 8 rebounds, played the last three quarters with a concussion.

Lauren Jackson takes a hit but Storm win again
The Storm might say D-Malicious after an elbow in the first quarter against Seattle on Saturday gave Storm star Lauren Jackson a bloody nose.

“Every single game that we play against DeLisha, everyone knows she’s a thug,” said Jackson after the Storm defeated the Sparks 75-62 on Saturday. “It’s ridiculous to me, but whatever. On a bad day, I probably would have decked her back, but I don’t really care. I’m just happy we won.”

Jackson scored 13 of her game-high 20 points in the opening quarter, helping Seattle jump to an early 13-0 lead. Yet, when she was evaluated after the game, it was determined that she played the final three quarters with a mild concussion.

Afterward, Storm coach Brian Agler had some strong words for Sparks forward DeLisha Milton-Jones.

Postgame Quotes/Notes – Storm 75, Los Angeles 62
She got wacked in the first quarter. Everybody saw this, it was the same thing, same person, same game, same team – there’s a common denominator. It’s unfortunate that the referees aren’t ready for it because I’ve said enough things to the officials, but it goes on deaf ears and it happens every game. We didn’t know about the concussion until after the game when she voiced her issues.

Despite the Sparks trying to play physical with the Storm from the outset, it was ultimately the Storm’s hot start to the game that made it tough on the Sparks.

Poor shooting dooms Sparks against Seattle
The Storm began the game with a 13-0 run before center Tina Thompson scored the Sparks’ first points on foul shots with 6:07 to play in the first quarter. Thompson made the team’s first field goal on a jump shot half a minute later. .

“Seattle came out hot and we didn’t,” said guard Kristi Toliver, who came off the bench to lead the team with 18 points. “Sometimes it happens like that.”

However, it’s starting to look as though the Storm’s success is due to more than chance: at 15-2, they have put together among the best first half starts in WNBA history, according to Kevin Pelton of StormTracker.

Their next game is a mid-day “Kids Day” matinee on Tuesday, July 6th against the New York Liberty.