Bill Laimbeer isn't factoring in Diana Taurasi's injury: 'She will cut your heart out in a second'

·3-min read

The WNBA semifinals came out firing with a double-overtime upset. And while the second game of the night didn't require extra minutes, it brought just as much spice. 

That's the beauty of a series. And it continues Thursday night

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner and Las Vegas Aces center Liz Cambage had a fun back-and-forth in the Aces' Game 1 victory. And after, the Mercury's Diana Taurasi and Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer traded light barbs via reporters. 

Laimbeer, Taurasi trade barbs after Game 1

Laimbeer was asked how dangerous Taurasi can still be on a clearly bum ankle. She was hobbled by it in the second-round win and appeared in pain late in Game 1, having to be subbed out. 

The coach and former Bad Boy Piston isn't having it. 

"Who, Taurasi? Taurasi ain't hurt. C'mon, please, this is the playoffs. Nobody's hurt," Laimbeer told reporters after the game. "I've been there done that. All of my friends have been there, done that. I don't want to hear anything, no. There's no sympathy factor in playoffs." 

Or at least, he's not allowing himself to get potentially sucked in and give Taurasi the advantage. 

"And she will not give any quarter either. Make sure of that one," he said. "She will cut your heart out in a second. So she's not hurt. We're going to play her as though she's full speed and ready to go and everything like that. That's how we do business. If we think otherwise, we put ourselves at a disadvantage." 

The ankle has clearly not impacted her production severely. She had 14 points, four rebounds, five assists and a steal in 32 minutes against the Storm. On Tuesday, she was even better, scoring 20 with five rebounds and six assists in 30 minutes. 

The first question Taurasi was faced with was how her ankle was feeling, to which she wasted no time responding, "great." And when told about Laimbeer's comments, she gave a quick, "Who's Bill Laimbeer?"

Standard, really. As ESPN's commentators said on Tuesday, 75% of what Taurasi says in shootaround they can't say on TV. 

Watch for BG and Liz

The battle between bigs Griner and Cambage is a key draw for the best-of-five series. And not to continuously beat this drum, but their tit for tat act on the court would be discussed on TV talk shows if this were another league. 

Shortly after Cambage re-entered the game in the third quarter, Griner starts the sequence with a fadeaway over Cambage that tied it, 56-56. She runs back with the "hush" move. 

Riquna Williams responded for the Aces with a short jumper and Griner missed a 3-point attempt on the other end. 

So what does Cambage do? Drills the 3-pointer over Griner and turns around for the hush and "I can't hear you" move. Griner's smirk and smile at it is everything. 

Griner had 24 points, seven rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block. Cambage, still returning from a bout with COVID-19, was in early foul trouble and played only 10 minutes. She had seven points and three rebounds. 

Game 2 is scheduled to tip Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

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