Saturday, August 25, 2007

Welcome to Indy

Here in Indianapolis, tip-off between the Sun and the Indiana Fever is about four hours away. I’m not at Conseco Fieldhouse just yet, which from the outside looks as gorgeous as I’ve been told, but here are a few sights and sounds from around the city:

(1) Conseco sits several blocks away from the new stadium the city is building for the Indianapolis Colts, creatively named Lucas Oil Stadium. Set to open in 2008, it looks similar to Detroit’s Ford Field from the outside – boxy, with a brick façade, resembling more a humongous warehouse than the curved domes and arenas we’re used to seeing. According to my cab driver (and confirmed by reports I read), the city plans to tear down the old RCA Dome, where the Colts currently play, to make room for expansion of the city’s convention center.

(2) Looking forward to actually seeing the inside of Conseco. The Sun PR people and other writers have touted it as the best venue in the WNBA, made so by everything from its set-up to the cool Indiana-state memorabilia that supposedly lines the concourse. Also, the Fever draw good crowds.

(3) Here’s a quick breakdown of things to come in this series: If the Sun win today at 4 p.m., they move on to their fifth straight conference finals. Five times in Sun history they have won the first game of a best-of-three series (not including Thursday night’s victory) and each time, they closed out the series in Game 2. If they lose today, Game 3 is set for Monday here in Indianapolis at 7 p.m., but is only being televised on NBA TV.

(4) In a shocker, the New York Liberty handily took Game 1 against the top-seeded Detroit Shock on Friday, winning 73-51 at home on the strength of an 18-0 third-quarter run.

Here’s what Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer told the Detroit Free Press following the game: “We didn’t play basketball,” said Laimbeer. “We didn’t want it, basically. We didn’t want it at all, and that was a little bit discouraging. We didn’t have any desire to compete. We weren’t cohesive as a ball club coming into this game. They have to find it in the next day and a half, and I hope they do.”

New York can close out the series Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Palace at Auburn Hills.

There will be more to come in the hours before, during and following tonight’s game.

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