Conference title might be out of reach, but Lynx want strong finish

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 12, 2014 - 6:26 AM

Saturday’s loss in Phoenix basically locking them into second place in the West.

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Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve wants her team pointed in the right direction entering the playoffs.

Photo: Matt York, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Just because the dream of winning the Western Conference title is all but over, don’t expect Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve to approach the final three regular-season games any differently.

Saturday’s loss in Phoenix all but mathematically eliminated the Lynx from the title chase, basically locking them into second place in the West. That means the team would host the No. 3 seed in a best-of-three first round of the playoffs.

“If you don’t keep your intensity up you don’t win,” Reeve said. “We don’t want to end the season not playing well. That’s our motivation.”

The Lynx, with three regular-season games left, host Los Angeles on Tuesday and play at San Antonio on Friday. Entering Tuesday’s games, the Sparks were the No. 3 seed and the Stars No. 4, with just a half-game separating them. That means the Lynx will have a large say in who they play in the first round by how they play in their next two games.

But don’t expect Reeve to say which team she’d prefer to face in the playoffs. “At this time of the year you could really drive yourself crazy trying to control things that are really beyond your control,” she said. “It’s always easier to focus on yourselves. Regardless of positioning, we want to play well as we go into next week.”

That said, the Lynx finish the season Saturday with a back-to-back. After Friday’s game in San Antonio the Lynx return to host Tulsa on Saturday. If the standings are a lock at that point, it is possible Reeve could use the opportunity to reduce the minutes of some of her players.

Another milestone

In a season filled with highlights, Lynx forward Maya Moore is approaching another milestone. Moore, who leads the league with a 24.3-point scoring average, has accumulated a league-record 12 games with 30 or more points. Moore has scored 753 points.

Moore needs 17 points to pass Seimone Augustus for most points in a season by a Lynx player. Augustus scored 769 points in 2007, still the third-most points scored in a WNBA season.

Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi has the two biggest single seasons in league history. She scored 820 points in 2008 and 860 points in 2006.

Moore would need 68 points in the final three games to push into second place, and would need to score 108 points — or 36 points per game — to break the record.

But it seems all but certain that Augustus’ franchise record will fall, perhaps Tuesday. “I mean, 16 points? That’s a layup for her,” Augustus said. “That will be something to celebrate going into the playoffs.”

Etc.

• The Lynx will begin selling tickets Tuesday at 10 a.m. for the first two rounds of the 2014 playoffs. The Lynx are guaranteed home court advantage in the first round. Each of the first two rounds is a best-of-three format. Tickets can be bought by calling the Lynx at 612-673-8400 or online at lynxbasketball.com/lynxtix.

• Augustus was held out of practice Monday to rest. She is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday night.

  • LYNX VS. LOS ANGELES

    7 p.m. Tuesday • Target Center • TV: NBA TV (106.1-FM)

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