After watching the film of Sunday’s 103-88 loss to Seattle, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was struck by one thing: The number of times she watched a Storm player score at the rim without seeing a Lynx defender even in the paint. “It’s so contrary to all our concepts,” she said. “A lack of awareness, on islands, not a collective effort. That’s what happens when you don’t have practices.” The condensed nature of the WNBA’s 22-game season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., has made practicing difficult. Even after another defensively challenged 89-86 loss to Washington on Tuesday, the Lynx gave their players a rest day Wednesday before Thursday’s matchup with second-place Las Vegas. The two losses has made the Lynx’s perch in the fourth spot in the WNBA standings — the final spot that receives a playoff bye — more precarious.
• Phoenix’s 100-95 victory over Connecticut on Wednesday pulled the Mercury within a half-game of the fourth-place Lynx. Phoenix ends the season Friday against first-place Seattle. The Lynx finish the season Saturday against Indiana. Should Phoenix finish the season with a victory over the Storm and the Lynx lose their final two games, Phoenix would finish fourth. If the two teams finish tied, since they split two games this season, the tiebreaker would be record against winning teams. Both teams are currently 4-5 in that category. If they’re still tied, the Lynx own the third tiebreaker (point differential in head-to-head games).
DEFENSE HAS SUFFERED
One thing is certain. The Lynx need to get back to playing effective defense, which won’t be easy against the Aces, who are first in the league in points and rebounds. “I always thought the key to a successful season is not losing two in a row,” Reeve said. “And this was sort of an unfortunate stretch here. We’ve got to figure it out. We’ve got to push through some stuff. Vegas doesn’t really matter. How we play matters. If we continue to play like we have, it will be another 100-point game. This is the best offense in the league, that gets to the foul line, a team that gets to the paint.” Here’s where the Lynx rank in the 12-team league in various categories, for the season and in the past two games.
Season Category Last two games
3. 79.2 Points allowed per game 12. 96.0
5. 44.4 Opponent FG percentage 12. 53.1
3. 32.2 Opponent 3-pt. percentage 10. 38.5
8. 7.5 Opponent 3s made/game 10. 10.0
5. 99.8 Defensive rating 2. 120.8
3. 32.5 Points in paint allowed/game 9. 40.0
9. 11.1 Second chance points allowed 10. 14.5
6. 15.9 Opponent points off turnovers 12. 24.0