Like a good chunk of the viewing audience, I tuned in to last night’s L.A.-Phoenix matchup on NBA TV to see Candace Parker’s 2009 debut. Alas, the league’s reigning MVP was overshadowed in the second half by the Mercury’s 13-0 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters and turned a close game into a rout. Q from Rethinking Basketball was also watching and blogged about the game, though I think he understated how overwhelmed the Sparks looked in that stretch. They seemed to mentally fatigue from the pressure of having to get back all game long, committing inexplicable turnovers that turned into Phoenix layups at the other end.
Add in a win over the Storm early in the week and the Mercury now stands alone atop the Western Conference, a position confirmed by Phoenix’s point differential. Let’s take a look at the advanced stats for the Mercury and the rest of the league.