Professional and personal curiosity, combined with some good timing, finally got us in front of the couch to watch an entire Minnesota Lynx game Tuesday for the first time all year. We hadn't been intentionally staying away; it's just that we had devoted so much of the summer to either traveling or watching bad baseball at the other Target-named sports building in downtown Minneapolis that the Lynx had merely been in our periphery.

But Tuesday, it was time. We wanted to see these Lynx for a full stretch ... see if this team that has had such impeccable timing this year -- matching their rise to the fall of pretty much every other conceivable team, all while carrying very likable players (including homegrown star Lindsay Whalen) -- suffered from the Minnesota yips that have plagued so many teams before them.

Instead, after a brief stumble at the start, their great timing continued. While the Twins were next door losing their 10th game in a row (for the first time since 1998, more on that here), while the winless Vikings were searching for optimism and making off-field news, while the NBA remains locked out, while the Wild talked about playing a trapping style (yes, almost everyone does it, but the word alone is enough to scare you), and while we all continued to monitor the health of a college football coach the state has taken an immediate shine to, the Lynx convincingly advanced in the playoffs to face Phoenix -- an opponent against which Minnesota went 3-2 this year, with both teams scoring, on average, more than 90 points per game. Game 1 is Thursday night at Target Center.

No, this does not come close to fixing 1998, 41-donut, 12 men in the huddle or any of those head-bashing playoff losses to the Yankees. But in our fragile state, where even a higher seed on a home court makes us nervous, it was refreshing to see a group of players perform at least very close to the peak of their collective skills in a game with major implications.

Congratulations, Lynx. Hop onto the main stage for a while. It's all yours.