Fever's game plan comes under scrutiny over lack of Caitlin Clark shots as team squanders 15-point lead to Sky


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Indiana Fever head coach Christie Sides’ game plan as the team squandered a 15-point lead against the Chicago Sky on Sunday came under fire as the team lost a pivotal matchup.

Clark had 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting – all of her made shots were from beyond the 3-point line. She also had a franchise-record 13 assists. However, the Fever lost 88-87.

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Indiana Fever head coach Christie Sides talks with guard Caitlin Clark, #22, during the second half of a basketball game against the Chicago Sky at Wintrust Arena in Chicago on June 23, 2024. (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA Today Sports)

The sharpshooting rookie did not attempt a shot in the final 2:19 of the game. Instead, second-year star Aliyah Boston attempted two long shots, making one of them. Kristy Wallace also got a shot off in the closing moments of the game.

Indiana only scored five points in the final 6:38 of the game and were outscored 24-15 in the fourth quarter.

Sides expected Clark to be more aggressive in the closing moments of the game. Sky guard Marina Mabrey missed clutch free throws, and a loose ball got into the hands of Clark.

Clark moved it up the floor quickly and passed it to Wallace, who made a valiant effort at a tough lay-up but missed the shot.

“I never want her to not be aggressive and take shots,” Sides told reporters, via the Indy Star. “I really thought when she went out in transition after that missed free throw I thought she was gonna take it to the rim or pull up right there. That would’ve been a great shot for her, a great shot for our team. But we were up 15 at the end of the third quarter, we’ve gotta do a better job at closing out games.”

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Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark, #22, walks on the court during the second half of a basketball game against the Chicago Sky at Wintrust Arena in Chicago on June 23, 2024. (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA Today Sports)

Former NFL players Robert Griffin III and Emmanuel Acho were among those who criticized the game plan in the final moments.

“There is no way on God’s green earth that Caitlin Clark shouldn’t have taken the last shot or even a shot in the last 30 secs of the game,” Griffin wrote on X.

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“Caitlin Clark should have taken the last shot. That’s why you have her. For moments like that. Period,” he added.

Acho added, “Caitlin Clark has to start being a lot more selfish. Clark has to realize that her shooting a contested shot is more productive than her teammate shooting an uncontested shot. The ‘right basketball play’ on paper, ain’t always the right one in real life.”

More fans added to the conversation on social media.

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Indiana Fever head coach Christie Sides reacts during the first half of a basketball game against the Chicago Sky at Wintrust Arena in Chicago on June 23, 2024. (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA Today Sports)

Sky rookie Angel Reese stole the show with another double-double. She had 25 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Chennedy Carter added 23.

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