The Lynx's 102-81 loss in Las Vegas on Wednesday ended a five-game winning streak and also narrowed the team's playoff possibilities with four regular-season games remaining.

The loss dropped the Lynx (18-10) from third in the WNBA to fifth, a half-game behind Phoenix (19-10), a game behind third-place Seattle and 2½ games behind the second-place Aces.

The Lynx own tie-breakers against both Las Vegas and Phoenix, but not first-place Connecticut or Seattle. That means The Lynx would need help from both the Aces and Seattle to move into the top two. But a top-four finish is still there for the taking.

A 4-0 finish would ensure a top-four seed. The top four teams get a first-round playoff bye; the top two receive byes into the semifinals.

The Lynx are about to enter a scheduling anomaly. Friday's game against last-place Indiana is the first of three straight games against the Fever, the first two at Target Center. The Lynx then end the season at Washington Sept. 19.

But, after Wednesday's game, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve wasn't in the mood to look ahead when asked about the team's upcoming games. "It's a tough time to ask that question,'' she said. "Clearly we'll get back to reminding them that our defense is what is clearly going to be the catalyst for us to be successful.''

It would appear the Lynx have an advantage schedule-wise, certainly against Phoenix, which ran its winning streak to 10 games with a come-from-behind victory over Atlanta Wednesday despite both center Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi sitting out.

The Mercury will play at Connecticut Saturday, at Seattle Sept. 17 and host Las Vegas Sept. 19.

Indiana has only six wins, but five of them have come in the past 10 games, including a victory over Connecticut.

And the strangeness of playing three straight regular-season games adds a twist.

"It's certainly interesting,'' Reeve said.

Said Napheesa Collier: "I'm not sure how that happened. But that's the hand we're dealt. We have to prepare. Anyone can beat any team in this league. We have to be locked in and be ready.''

After holding four straight opponents under 40% shooting, the Aces shot 55.1% and outscored the Lynx 52-30 in the paint while handing Minnesota it's biggest loss of the season. Afterward Reeve criticized her team's defense and toughness.

"They did the hitting all night,'' she said. "And we were just passive and reactive. … We weren't very hard to play against, and it was awfully disappointing.''

The Lynx had four players finish in double figures but failed to get much from the rest of the rotation. Bridget Carleton, starting for the injured Damiris Dantas, and backup guard Rachel Banham failed to score in the first three quarters. The Aces starting guards, meanwhile, scored 45 points.

Reeve also was unhappy with her team's ability to get the ball to center Sylvia Fowles efficiently. "You have nobody getting her the ball where she can catch it and do something easy,'' she said. "It was that kind of night. It's tough to be Syl. You have to carry the team every night.''

Crystal Dangerfield, starting in place of the injured Layshia Clarendon at point guard, has scored just 15 points and shot 5-for-24 in the past four games.

But for all that, the Lynx did score 81 points and had four players in double figures Wednesday. It was the defense that let the Lynx down.

"Our perimeter defense was pretty darned passive all night,'' Reeve said. "They got where they wanted to go.''

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