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The Mystics are still in striking distance of a Top-3 playoff seed

But their toughest stretch of the season comes up this next week.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21: Washington Mystics forward Alysha Cla
The Washington Mystics will have a Top-5 playoff berth barring a major collapse. However, they should do what they can to avoid a tough first round matchup.
Photo by Craig Hudson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Earlier this month, I wrote that the Washington Mystics’ postseason goal should be to earn a Top 3 seed. The reasons were two-fold. First, a Top-3 seed will earn them a first-round matchup against a considerably weaker team. And second, a Top-3 seed will allow the Mystics to avoid a likely second round matchup against the Chicago Sky or Las Vegas Aces, the teams that currently have the top two seeds.

Washington has not played in about a week, largely because they have played more games than their counterparts earlier in the season. They will play the Dallas Wings tomorrow. Also, it’s partly because the Commissioner’s Cup game between the Sky and Aces was last night with Vegas taking the prize. Where do the Mystics stand now?

The Mystics are 17-11, where they are still fifth in the WNBA standings. They remain four games behind the Sky for the first seed, three games behind the Aces for the second seed, and three games (technically two, but really three due to tiebreakers) behind the Connecticut Sun for the third. They have eight more games to play before the playoffs begin.

Of their remaining games, the two most important games are this Saturday and Sunday (July 30 and 31) against the Seattle Storm, who are just one game ahead of the Mystics. Washington must win both of these games to earn a tiebreaker. Given that both games are at home, it should be a little “easier” with home court advantage, even considering the fact that the Storm will have some positive momentum for Sue Bird’s farewell tour.

Even if the Mystics win both games against the Storm, they will have two more games against the Aces on Aug. 2 at home and the Sky on Aug. 5 on the road, capping off what will be their toughest stretch of the regular season. Washington owns the tiebreaker against the Aces but will likely not have any against the Sky. After an Aug. 7 match against the Los Angeles Sparks, the Mystics’ last two regular season games are against the last place Indiana Fever.

The Mystics have a good chance to get a much-needed Top-3 seed in the playoffs. But the road won’t be easy, especially this upcoming week.