Sunday, September 06, 2009

Slip Sliding Away . . .

Paul Simon could have written the soundtrack for the Mystics' road trip this weekend, as Washington followed up its loss on Friday in Chicago with a loss this afternoon in Indianapolis, 61-72. After the Mystics' important and exciting win over Seattle on Thursday, these two losses have turned the Mystics' playoff chances on their head. With only two games remaining, a playoff berth, while not impossible, is looking far more elusive.

It's never easy to beat a full-strength conference-leading team playing at home on fan appreciation day. It's even harder to beat a strong team like the Fever if you shoot less than 30% from the floor. And that's what the Mystics did. They shot an appalling 28.9% from the floor in Indy today, with a very predictable result.

The Mystics came out of the gate lagging, as Indiana opened with a 16-2 run, and at the end of the 1st quarter Washington trailed, 22-14. The Mystics re-grouped during the 2nd & 3rd periods and even led by a point at the start of the final quarter. But Indy began the 4th period with a 9-0 run and never looked back.

Lang was the Mystics' leading scorer, with 13 points. Lindsey added 12, and Marissa finished with 11 off the bench. Alana, who missed the last two games because of her sprained left ankle, didn't start but played a little over 17 minutes, scoring 6 points. Matee, who notched a career-high 32 points on Friday in Chicago, was held scoreless today, going 0-10. Ouch!

The Fever, who had already locked up first place in the East, have now swept the season series with the Mystics, 4-0. The Mystics have dropped to 15-17.

We can only hope now that with the right combination of wins by the Mystics in their remaining two games, and losses by other teams, the Mystics can garner a playoff spot in the still tightly-bunched Eastern Conference. We can still hope. But in truth, it looks like the nearer the destination, the more the Mystics' playoff chances are slip sliding away.


At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say let's not make the playoffs and maybe get a shot at Jayne Appel in the draft.

At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I posted an earlier comment thanking you for catching my computational final standing error. That will be my first and last effort at being a prognosticator.

Thanks Detroit for putting a 'L' to Chicago's record. The Mystics are still in the playoff hunt. I will be in the Phone Booth on Saturday.

At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jayne Appel....that would be nice....

At 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the hell with TANKING to gain a high draft pick next year.... that's for punks and is a "loser" mentality! Lets try adn win these last 2 games and hope for the best! Worry about the 2010 draft AFTER the 2009 playoffs are complete! Monica C. Brown

At 9:44 AM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Anonymous Monica C. Brown,

Thank you! We couldn't agree more.

"Tanking" is for losers and quitters. You don't build the foundation of a successful franchise by giving up when the going gets tough.

The BCs are pulling for the Mystics to make the playoffs or die trying (figuratively, of course).



At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am confused by your comments. If we win both, we are most certainly in (although not definitely). With games against Atlanta and NY, they are both very winnable. In fact there are several scenarios weher we get into the playoffs with only one win.
Let's keep some positive energy.

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Stewart said...

Playoffs or not, if you had told me at this time last year that we'd be in the post-season hunt in the last week of the 2009 regular season, I would have accepted that with open arms. All I wanted to see this year was some sign that this team is moving in the right direction and not just spinning its tires or, worse, regressing. While this team still needs to learn how to win and win consistently, there has been LOTS of improvement and a good foundation is being built. GM Taylor and Coach Plank deserve high kudos for the job they've done in cleaning up the mess that marked this organization at the end of last year and the Mystics are DEFINITELY a team with a bright future. While the game in Indiana -- and especially the fourth quarter (4 of 26 from the field) was disappointing, I'm still proud to be a Mystics fan.

At 10:19 AM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Stewart, very well said. We entirely agree.

-- BC

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There still a chance for sure to make the playoffs. Win the last 2 games and hope Chicago loses atleast 1. Chicago has 2 away games. We must win the last 2 games though or it's over for the season. The game yesterday was a bit of a let down. I thought they would play better given the situation but they just had a horrible shooting night. Come on Mystics! Beat ATL and NYC and hope Detroit or IND get a win against CHI.

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a high school senior, Title IX had been around for 7 years. Yet if the men's basketball team wanted the court while we were having a scheduled practice, we we walked off. I don't blame them--I blame us. The members of the Mystics (and the other pro teams) are the women who said "we're staying." They have shown nothing but heart and love for the game. Flying coach? Salaries of less than several hundred thousand (or million)? I wonder how many men would put up with that.
Sure the Mystics have had some bad days on the court. But the coaching problems seem to be behind them, and I am a proud supporter. Playoffs or not, these women can hold their heads high.

At 9:37 PM, Blogger nsw43 said...

If I read the stats right - if the Mystics win the last two, even if Chicago and Connecticut win also, they'd get the fourth spot because of tie-breakers with those two teams.

That said, I don't think they can beat Atlanta, so this scenario is probably moot.

I agree with others that no matter what happens, this season has been a success for this fan. The Mystics have been competitive in just about every game, and frankly they don't have as much talent as a lot of other teams, so that's saying something.

They play their hearts out, even when they're outmatched.

So I'll cheer them on these last two games and be happy with outcome, whatever it is.

Go Mystics!

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They don't have the tiebreaker with CHI, right? I know they do with the Sun, but I didn't think they had the tiebreaker with either CHI or Detroit. They can beat ATL if they hit their free throws and minimize their turnovers. They can beat anybody when they do that. Problem is, often they don't do either and they end of losing close games. Next year, they need to get a backup point guard so Lindsay isn't playing so many minutes. I also think Mo hasn't proven herself to be a night in night out consistent scorer and they need that from the wing. Anyway, I will be cheering them on Saturday! They can do it!

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have the tie breaker with Detroit and Conn. We split 2 and 2 with Chicago. All 3 have 9-11 conf records. I'm not sure what the next order is for tie breakers, Do you know all mighty BC's?

At 11:10 AM, Blogger BasketCases said...

The possible playoff scenarios are indeed getting complicated!

Based on head-to-head records, the Mystics do have the tie-breaker against Detroit and Connecticut (we are 2-1 against each), but not with Chicago, since we split 2-2.

The next tie-breaker is conference record, which, as Anonymous immediately above points out, will be the same for DC and the Sky if both teams wind up with the same record. (Both are at 9-11 now and their remaining games are only against Eastern Conference opponents.)

In that situation, we'd have to go to the *next* tiebreaker, which, according to the WNBA's web site, is "Better winning percentage against all teams with a .500 or better record at the end of the season." We haven't gone back to the win-loss records to check that, but the WNBA's web site is showing that today, Chicago would get that tie-break over the Mystics. (And keep in mind that the Mystics have only one remaining game against a team with a better than even record, while both of the Sky's games are against teams that currently are above .500. Very complicated!)

You can find the tie-break rules and current playoff picture on the WNBA's web site here:

-- BC

At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's just hope we win the last 2 games and CHI loses one of their next 2. We will be in for sure then.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The third tie-breaker calculation is a mystery until the end of the season, because so many teams (six, by my count) are riding the cusp of .500.

Let's just win these two, and let Donna O. sort it out! (OK, maybe not Donna, personally...)

At 5:00 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

The third tie-breaker indeed is a bit of a "mystery" until the end of the season; however, some things are knowable now:

1. Indy, Atlanta, Phoenix and Seattle are already guaranteed to finish at or above .500. From a quick pass thru the schedule (we haven't double checked these figures), the Mystics' record against those teams is 3-8, with one game left to play (against the Dream). The Sky's record is 5-5, also with one game left to play (against Indy).

2. Detroit is currently at 16-15. The Mystics are 2-1 against Detroit, while the Sky are 0-3 with one game left to play.

3. Although LA could finish at or above .500, and San Antonio could finish at .500, this would be irrelevant to a tie-break between the Mystics and the Sky, as they have the same record against those teams (1-1). The Sun could also finish at 17-17, equally irrelevant to a tie break between the Sky and Mystics, as both have 2-1 records against Connecticut.

Assuming that the Mystics and the Sky win out (tying at 17-17), and assuming that Detroit remains at least at .500 (which helps the Mystics for these purposes), and not counting the irrelevant records against LA, San Antonio and the Sun, the Sky would have a 7-8 record against these teams, while the Mystics would be at 6-9.

Bottom line: this complicated tie-breaker won't be needed if the Mystics win out, and the Sky lose at least one game.

Caveat: this was calculated without the assistance of a computer.

-- BC


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