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More to prove: Aces, Becky Hammon not celebrating yet

Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon yells from the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Connecticut Sun in game one of the 2022 WNBA Finals at Michelob Ultra Arena. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas leads the WNBA Finals 2-0 and the Aces can close out the Connecticut Sun with a victory on the road in Game 3.

WNBA Coach of the Year Becky Hammon was spreading a different message to her team Tuesday night following the Aces’ 85-71 win that sets up a close-out game on Thursday.

“I mean, I don’t see any banners. I don’t see any balloons,” Hammon said. “Sure as hell glad I didn’t see that confetti again because we ain’t won nothing yet.”

Credit went to the defense in Game 2 as the Aces controlled the paint and dictated tempo. Well, credit might be a strong word.

“It starts on the defensive end. Our defense (stinks),” Hammon said in an interview session that might even make her former San Antonio Spurs boss Gregg Popovich smirk. “They went out and didn’t (stink). It was them. They know what they are supposed to do, and it’s my job to remind them what they are supposed to be doing. And you know, at the end of the day, they have to go out and do it, and they do.”

Clearly, Hammon is wearing off on her players in more ways than one.

She credited Kelsey Plum, who had 20 points and seven assists after a six-point effort in Game 1, with getting downhill against the Sun to break down the Connecticut defense and spark the 85-point outburst in Game 2. But there might’ve been a bit more to the story Tuesday night as double-double machine A’ja Wilson tells it.

“I told her she needed to get her (expletive) together,” said Wilson, who had 26 points, 10 rebounds on Tuesday.

“At the end of the day that’s what she needs to do. Make sure she understood that we need her to make shots, and I know it sounds harsh, but (Plum) is a pro and she went out there and took care of business. … I have ways that I talk to my teammates to get them to understand where I need to be and where we need to be. Yeah, I cussed her out.”

Hammon interviewed for multiple NBA openings before she went with Las Vegas’ offer, which she said appealed to her for the very chance sitting before the Aces this week: winning a championship. She was asked postgame if the NBA should feel “dumb” not hiring her as a head coach.

“I felt they had the talent to do it and I felt that I could build the relationships and build the culture in the right way for us to put ourselves in a position to be able to win a championship,” she said. “Like I said before, we haven’t won anything yet. All we did is take care of home court, what we are supposed to do.

“I’m used to people not picking me; I don’t know if you’re aware. I just did me.”

–Field Level Media

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