I was watching ESPN’s post-game show after the Lynx had advanced to their third straight WNBA championship series. Sue Bird, the Seattle guard who missed the season due to injury, was the analyst. When asked for a prediction for the upcoming series, she picked the Lynx to beat Atlanta in four games.
I don’t think it will be that easy for the Lynx.
I know the Dream was all over the map this season. They had the hottest start in the league but stumbled horribly down the stretch. But, come playoff time, they got it together. The Dream is in the finals for the third time in four seasons, but have yet to win a game in the championship series. They will be underdogs, I think they’ll be loose, and – with Angel McCoughtry – they will be dangerous.
That said, the matchups clearly favor the Lynx. Minnesota had the league’s best record both overall (26-8) and on the road (11-6) during the regular season. Atlanta finished 17-17, was very good at home (13-4), but struggled to a 4-13 record on the road. Still, Atlanta beat both Washington and Indiana on the road in the first two rounds.
The Lynx were the league’s highest-scoring team (82.88) and the best point differential (plus-9.35). The Lynx were league’s best-shooting team overall and from three-point range; the Dream finished with the worst three-point shooting percentage in the league (27.5 percent). The Lynx were the league’s third-best rebounding team overall, and their plus-4.67 rebound differential was the league’s best. The dream finished with a negative rebounding differential.
There are a couple areas where the Dream are dangerous. They led the league in steals and easily led the league in points off turnovers (18.2). And Atlanta’s 38.7 points per game in the paint was best in the league. And Atlanta is good on the break, nearly as good as the Lynx. And give Atlanta a slight edge in bench scoring.
But, at first glance, it would appear the Lynx have the edge at most positions, though both McCoughtry and forward/center Erika de Souza will be tough matchups.
I’ll be at the airport meeting the team upon its return from Phoenix later this afternoon. Have a good day.