Monday, September 23, 2013

Look Out!

The Lynx got off to a good start in the WNBA playoffs, thumping Seattle 80-64 at home and winning again 58-55 on the road. Yeah, that 2nd game was a little closer than one would like. Seattle was ahead 55-54 when Seimone Augustus made the game-winner with 39 seconds left. But it's a sweep and a much stronger effort than the 2-1 win over Seattle a year ago, in which the Lynx lost game 2 on the road and won game three at home by 1 point.

Like I said in my previous post about the Lynx: So far, so good.

But wait! In another sense, I don't like what I'm seeing at all. Looking more broadly at the other 3 playoff series, the WNBA playoffs have started out like last night's Emmys: Surprises galore. And that could mean one of two things. Or it could mean two of two things. Some of these playoff teams are not that good. Or, some are peaking at the right time. Or both.

Take Indiana, please. Indiana 2 Chicago 0. Chicago, after all, won the Eastern Division title this year, while Indiana finished 4th. But this is the same Indiana team that put it all together last year at this time and clobbered the Lynx 3-1 in the finals. Well, they're obviously putting it together again this year. So there's the second case--a playoff team peaking at the right time...again.

In the other surprises, #3 Phoenix won at #2 L.A. in that 1st game, then L.A. turned around and won at Phoenix. This may indeed be a case of both teams showing off their weaknesses. And the visitor has won both games in the Atlanta (#2 in the East) vs. Washington (#3) series. Again, maybe both of these teams are signaling their weaknesses and their inability to contend for a WNBA final.

But, again, there can be little doubt that Indiana has the ability to contend for the WNBA title, and to play out of their heads at playoff time. And it's not as if they finished strong, they finished 4-4 to get to 16-18, when 1 more win could have gotten them the home court in the 1st round, at least. They did beat Chicago, however, 82-77, in Chicago. And in the 1st playoff game, the hero of last year's NBA finals, Shavonte Zellous, led the way again with 20 points. And in game 2, their other hero a year ago, Tamika Catchings, scored a game-high 18 points.

They'll play Atlanta or Washington in the Eastern final. Washington or Atlanta will have home ice, and Indiana will be favored.

The Lynx now move on to face L.A. or Phoenix in the final. They'll have the home ice and they'll be favored. L.A. remains a dangerous opponent. But for now, all eyes are on Indiana. A repeat of last year's finals are likely--in terms of the two contestants--hopefully not in terms of the outcome. The Lynx will have to slow down Zellous, and nobody could do that last year. And they'll have to find a way to score inside against Tamika Catchings, and nobody could do that last year.

But, first, L.A. Or, Phoenix. Like I said, L.A. remains a dangerous opponent. Phoenix, not so much. But all eyes are on Indiana. Go, Lynx!

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