Season Ticket Review – The start of something long

I haven’t been to a Sioux Falls Skyforce game since December 9th – a less than stellar and rather boring loss to the Dakota Wizards.


Game 5: December 22nd, 2007

Los Angeles D-Fenders (8-3) at Sioux Falls Skyforce (3-6)

Since that day, I’ve been completely in the dark. I know the team had an NBA player assigned, then rescinded the next day. I know that this coming Christmas Day game is against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants – a Deadspin favorite, I’ve heard. But other than that, it’s as if the team has been completely hidden from my view.

In a way, they have been. Since canceling our Argus Leader subscription, I no longer make searching for the Skyforce score my top goal every morning. Instead, I get to work and completely forget the team is around. I don’t hear any updates aside from the very rare Skyforce team e-mail, and I don’t hear the scores. For all I know, the Skyforce are still 1-5, reeling from that Dakota loss.

It’s part laziness and forgetfulness on my part, sure. But it’s also a block in technology on their fault. The Skyforce website – and the D-League in general – has no RSS feed. None. So the news isn’t brought to me – I have to go search for it. And I simply don’t do that anymore.

What the Skyforce should do is this: condense the news updates and game scores into one feed. Release it to the public. It won’t take much to set up, and fans like me won’t have to go blindly searching through an already difficult to navigate website to find the most recent score. Let’s bring things into the second half of the decade, please. No RSS feed? Come on!

Had I been paying attention, I would know that after that Dakota loss, the Skyforce won two of three. A win against Dakota in Bismark and a win against the Rio Grande Vipers (behind Elton Nesbitt’s 26 points on 57% shooting, including 5 of 5 from behind the arc) tripled the team’s win total from one to three. A tough overtime loss in Iowa – after coming from 13 back at the start of the 4th quarter – seemed to back up any claims of competence. Maybe we were a good team, just off to a bad start?

In comes LA – a team that had won five in a row, and at 8-3 was one of the best teams in the league. The last time the Skyforce faced a team that had won five in a row, they beat them – the Idaho Stampede.

We weren’t so lucky tonight. Not at all.

It was a rough game all around. We shot 36.6% from the floor. We fell behind early. Aside from Carl Elliot (11 points in the 1st alone) we looked like a group of zombies.

I was about to write a scathing couple paragraphs about Jason Klotz, our current stiff-at-center, a Skyforce tradition started years ago with Joe Dabbert, but a series of boneheaded mistakes (including two three-second violations, a stupid foul, a missed lay-up and promise of several more oafish moves thus cementing his status as a 6-foul space hog) was followed by a few flashes of brilliance – one of which was a great hustle play that led to two points and a foul. So he’s saved, this week at least.

So really, my only beef – and it’s a big one – was the foul shot discrepancy. 31 shots for LA. 13 for the Skyforce. All other things being equal, we’re already at an 18 point disadvantage.

The solution is simple – stop allowing opponents to have their way in the paint, and start getting into the paint offensively. We foul too often on shots, and we don’t drive to draw our own fouls. It’s enough to make you hang your head, like a kid that just won’t learn. Even Sierra was growing tired of it, throwing her own fit long before her parents could start yelling at the team.

And with that, we left. The end of the 3rd quarter saw us losing, again, depending on the jump shot, seemingly afraid of being touched in the paint – a team of fragile beauties relying on marksmanship with un-trued guns. We don’t have the balls to drive inside. Either that, or we don’t have the skill to execute when we try. It’s frustrating, obviously – we see the other team drive and cut through into the pain without effort, laying it in for an easy basket or drawing the natural foul.

It happened pretty often last year with Mo. It seems like we’ve passed the tradition on to Nate.

So here we are – fewer wins than anyone in the league minus the always horrible Bakersfield Jam with games against two division rivals. If we lose both, we’re nearly five games out of 1st place after just 12 games.

I hate to say it, but it’s going to be a long season.

Skyforce 86, Los Angeles 97

This was lovingly handwritten on December 23rd, 2007