The big “what ifs” didn’t seem to factor into either of the prime-time pro games played by the locals Thursday (Aug. 11).
Question one seems competitively unfair: What if Lauren Jackson had been playing when the Storm met the Tulsa Shock at KeyArena? The answer is academic because the defending world champs flattened 1-21 Tulsa, a team with a nickname that aptly describes the apparent condition of most of its players.
The Storm troopers led early 19-5 and by 22 at the half, winning 77-63. From my elevated vantage point the floor action looked more like a Storm shoot-around as perimeter players threatened to wear out the net with long-range swishes.
Jackson, meanwhile, looked pretty spry on the sideline. The star center is mending from her June 30 hip surgery, which was supposed to sideline her for at least eight weeks.
Her team benefited from balanced scoring, with all but one of 10 players putting up points as the club shot a splendid .517 from the floor. Those in the announced two-thirds-capacity crowd of 6,503 participated in the typical mayhem of a Storm performance, attended as it is by multi-media mania and ongoing promotional attractions. The charity-drive teddy-bear toss alone is worth a visit.
The other must-see, of course, is the performance of point guard Sue Bird. Against Tulsa she demonstrated again that she probably could play in the NBA if only the men’s league a) had a 2011-'12 season planned and b) had anybody who values a passing game.
Thursday’s other dominating question was: What if Russell Okung could walk and play football at the same time? The oft-bunged-up Seahawks left tackle limped from the playing field in San Diego during the first possession of Seattle’s initial pre-season practice game. It isn’t known as this is written as to whether the supposedly ready-for-2011 would-be anchor of the team’s offensive line suffered a high-ankle sprain but a fracture seems to have been avoided.
The Seattle team actually seemed to play a pair of games, with some of us missing the second one. The Hawks lost game one (aka the first half) 10-0 and won the second half 24-7. That meant a 24-17 victory and little else, unless fans feel that a quarterback controversy is mildly important.
Actually it isn’t fair (as though sports commentary was supposed to be fair) to disparage starting QB Tarvaris Jackson’s mediocre debut after his recent arrival from the Minnesota Vikings. Jackson has only been practicing with his new club for a couple of days.
Suffice it to note, though, that Hawk one-year vet Charlie Whitehurst put up far better numbers (14 for 20, 115 yards), albeit against a San Diego Chargers club stocked with prospects instead of veterans. Even Hawk third-stringer Josh Portis (five for nine, 69 yards) had better numbers than Jackson (three for five, 13 yards).
The latter, though, showed promising backfield mobility, a starting-QB dimension that Seattle fans accustomed to Matt Hasselbeck haven’t witnessed for years. Assuming Jackson succeeds in becoming coach Pete Carroll's starter, the QB may need mobility if the rest of the Hawk offense is deficient.
Anyway, a Storm laugher and a Hawk “W” in a meaningless pre-season game cleared the way for the weekend, featuring yet another big “what-if,” to wit:
With the Bosox in town for three against the Mariners starting Friday (Aug. 12), what if most of the mouthy “Red Sox Nation” patrons visiting Safeco actually had ties of some kind to Boston?