Friday, September 04, 2009


Every team in the Eastern Conference had a game tonight, which means that all 4 of the teams fighting for the 3rd & 4th playoff spots were in action. And every one of those teams pulled out a win, except for one -- the Mystics -- who lost on the road to Chicago, 86-92. So the standings-pendulum swung today, but not in the Mystics' favor.

The Sky's Sylvia Fowles, who missed several games due to a sprained ankle, returned to action tonight, coming off the bench to score 13 points -- for Chicago-- in nearly 17 minutes of play. Big Syl also scored 2 points for the Mystics on an "own goal." (Those points were credited to Chasity Melvin, the nearest Mystics player.) But the Mystics, playing the second half of a back-to-back, were still playing without their All-Star, Alana Beard, who was again on the bench in street clothes. (And therefore didn't score any points, for the Mystics or for the Sky.)

Unlike last night, however, when a balanced effort by AB's teammates secured a much-needed win, tonight the Mystics' offense was far more lopsided. Matee Ajavon had a career-high 32 points, while Crystal Langhorne had another double-double, putting up 23 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Lindsey Harding finished with 12 points, and Chas had 8 of her own, plus the 2 courtesy of Big Syl, to finish in double figures with 10.

But that was about it. The Mystics got practically no production from their wings, Mo & Marissa, and Washington's bench was MIA tonight, scoring a combined 5 points. By contrast, the Sky got a whopping 48 points from theirs!

But amazingly, being the gamers that they are, the Mystics still almost pulled this one out. In the last 5 minutes, they fought back from an 8-point deficit to grab a 1-point lead with 40 seconds left. But a failure by the Mystics to get a defensive stop, and a couple of turnovers and some fouls, allowed the Sky to grab the swing-game win.

Like last night, there were more than 50 fouls called in this game. The whistles interrupted play so often (particularly in the 4th quarter) that both teams struggled to find their offensive rhythm. It got so painful that the Sky announcer repeatedly complained about the abundance of calls . . . even when some of the fouls were called on the Mystics. (For the record, the game wasn't decided by the officials. However, we agree with the announcer . . . it was very annoying.)

With tonight's loss, the Mystics drop to 15-16, and the Sky improve to 15-16. The two teams are now tied for 4th place in the East. Detroit, meanwhile, beat Indy to move to 15-15, and take sole possession of 3rd place. And the Sun (back at home after their West Coast swing) kept their playoff hopes alive by defeating the Liberty -- in OT -- and are now sitting just behind the Mystics and the Sky at 15-17. So this playoff race remains as close and wild as ever!

Which means, of course, that any one of the Mystics' remaining 3 games could make the difference between a playoff spot or an also-ran season. And the Mystics' next game should really test their mettle, as Washington now heads down to Indianapolis to face the Conference-leading Fever on Sunday at 4 PM. Indy has beaten Washington in all 3 previous meetings this season. Regardless (and we know we're sounding repetitive), with tonight's loss, Sunday's game is a MUST win.

Go Mystics, Beat Indy!


At 2:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My two cents again. Although this lost bumped us into a 4th place tie with the Sky (we lose the tie-breaker) I am not discouraged nor pissed about the loss. I knew we would recover from the 8-point deficit (I really did believe that) and we did. Lord if we could have grabbed the defensive rebound to avoid the putback - Game Over.

Now the remaining games are Do-or-Die. That's why I believe Alana will play on Sunday. Otherwise why have her take this trip when she could rest and treat the ankle in WDC.

Altanta is playing like stalkers are after them - not wanting to be caught. That game next Sat. will be the PIVOTAL game of the year.

Live Access coverage/commentary was pretty decent for a change.

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they could have made a few more free throws and had less turnovers, then would have won the game... Pretty good effort considering it was a back to back and had to fly all the way to CHI to play though. They must win against IND tomorrow.

At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Final Standings Predictions

Indiana 22-12
Atlanta 18-16
Washington 17-17
Detroit 17-17
Chicago 16-18
Connecticut 16-18
New York 12-22

Could happen
Atlanta tying Indiana at 20-14 (not likely)

Detroit tying Altanta at 19-15 (slight chance)

Four teams at 18-16 (Dream,Shock, Mystics & Sky)

Five teams at 17-17 (add Sun)

Washington at 16-18 making the playoffs if tied with other teams

At 8:11 AM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Anonymous Prognosticator:

We're happy to see your optimism about the Mystics making the playoffs.

Without commenting on all your various permutations, though, we did want to note that it's impossible for both Detroit and Chicago to finish at 18-16, as they play each other twice in the remaining week. The Sky are now at 15-16 and the Shock at 15-15. For the Sky to finish 18-16, they would have to win out, beating the Shock twice, making 17-17 the best the Shock could finish.

-- BC

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why the big whine about having to fly to Chicago to play? It's a two hour flight. People fly there, and then work a full 8+ hour day every day. I don't excuse the back to back game lack of effort. This team just isn't consistent in it's efforts. That said, the team is much improved over last year.

At 2:38 PM, Blogger BlogforHealth said...

You can't compare a workday to the sports. Its not the same at all. It is difficult to rebound after physical games and be ready physically and emotionally for another game the next day. But teams know when they have to play backs to backs well in advance so that's not an excuse. The Mystics let that game slip away.


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