In a few hours we’ll know which team has the top seed in the upcoming WNBA playoffs.
The winner of tonight’s game between the Chicago Sky and the Lynx at Target Center will have that spot, which guarantees home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
A Lynx loss would mean opening the finals in Chicago, should both teams get that far. Of course, the Lynx would still start the finals at home with a loss tonight should the Sky get knocked off in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Should Chicago win, the two teams would finish with the same record, but the Sky would hold the tie-breaker given the season sweep; Chicago beat Minnesota in overtime in Chicago last month.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve has some mixed emotions about how to approach this game. “When a game doesn’t mean anything, it’s challenging for a coach. The players approach it differently, and things happen when you do that.’’
So she’s glad this game has meaning, right? Well: “But there is another side to me that goes, ‘I have a playoff game Friday. I want to make sure we go into that thing healthy.’ So that is in the back of my mind, that this game, in the end, while it is for home court throughout, doesn’t matter nearly as much as my (playoff games).’’
There are some other things to look for tonight:
--Watch the play of backup point guard Lindsey Moore, who appeared to turn a corner of sorts in Thursday’s loss in Los Angeles. Moore played 16:40 in the game, her second-highest total of the season. She was on the court when the Lynx made their run from late in the third quarter into the fourth in Los Angeles – she was a team-best plus-17 in the plus/minus ratings – and she had season highs in points (five), rebounds (three) and assists (three).
Reeve said Moore has been coming on strong in practice the past couple weeks. “Lindsey has been giving us those positive feelings over the last week and a half or two weeks,” she said.
This after a mid-season stretch in which Moore struggled. “It was a rough time for her,” Reeve said. “And then, I don’t know what happened for her. But she has some momentum now, she has done some good things.”
--Minnesota has won 79 games since the start of the 2011 season, becoming just the third team with three straight 25-plus-win seasons in the process. A victory tonight would match Houston (1998-2000) for most victories in a three-season stretch, one behind the 81 won by Los Angeles from 2000 through 2002.
--The Lynx enter tonight’s game within reach of league single season records for field goal percentage, assists per game and fewest turnovers per game. The team enters the game shooting 47.3 percent for the season, just 0.2 percent behind the 2013 Sparks. With 20.4 assists per game the Lynx are 0.4 assists per game behind their own record of 20.8 set last season. The Lynx currently average 12.1 turnovers per game, and if that stands up it would be a record.
I’ll get back to you after the game.