Monday, October 8, 2012

Impressive! The Lynx, That's Who

The Minnesota Lynx swept the L.A. Sparks to advance to the WNBA finals for the 2nd straight year. They'll be defending their WNBA title against the winner of the Connecticut-Indiana series, probably the Sun who lead that series 1 game to none.

The Lynx nipped the Sparks 80-79, making this the 2nd straight series in which the deciding game was won by a single point. But while the Seattle series win was, well, unimpressive, this one is impressive with a capital IMPRESSIVE. That's the difference between winning at home and winning on the road. And it's the difference between desperately hanging on to a once-comfortable lead and roaring back from behind.

The Lynx trailed L.A. 65-52 at 0:46 of the 3rd period and 65-57 to start the 4th. They caught up and took the lead at 73-72 with 5 minutes still to play. In other words, they out-scored the Sparks 21-7 over just 5:46 as Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen each contributed 3 buckets. L.A. regained the lead at 74-73 and 79-77, and Moore hit a pair of throws and Rebekah Brunson scored (how else?) off the offensive glass. A Monica Wright 3 at 1:14 put Minnesota back out front, and Alana Beard missed a pair of shots inside of 1 minute.

The Lynx' finish followed a terrible 3rd period in which L.A. had a 17-0 run.

In game 1 the Lynx held L.A., a solid rebounding team, to a ridiculous 1 offensive rebound and out-scored them 20-2 on 2nd chance points. In game 2 L.A. grabbed an equally ridiculous 18 offensive boards...and lost. At home, where they were 16-1 this year going into tonight's game. 17 turnovers didn't help, nor 5-of-10 FT shooting.

Augustus, Moore and Whalen finished with 21, 20 and 17 points. Brunson contributed 10 boards, while Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Whalen had 5 assists apiece. Candace Parker was all-world for L.A. with 33 points and 15 boards.

Once again, here are the Lynx' keys to victory:

Inside D: Grade D
3-Ball: Grade B (Lynx hit 7-of-18, L.A. 4-fo-17)
The good Lindsay shows: Grade B+
Maya steps up: Grade B+
Blocking and tackling: C (out-rebounded badly and allowed L.A. to shoot 47 percent)

And yet they won on the road. This was every bit as impressive as the Seattle series was not.

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