Last weekend, the Washington Mystics split a two-game home stand against the Seattle Storm. Both teams have identical 19-12 records, but the Storm hold the tiebreaker because they won last Saturday. Therefore, the Mystics are effectively one game behind the Storm and must finish with a better regular season record to earn a higher seed.
Who has the better chance of finishing higher, the Mystics or the Storm?
Washington still has two games against other Top-4 seeds left in the season with games against the Las Vegas Aces tomorrow and the Chicago Sky on Friday. Their last two games are against the last place Indiana Fever. As for Seattle, they have three games remaining against Top-4 opponents, including the Aces (at home on Aug. 7 and on the road on Aug. 14) and the Sky (on the road on Aug. 9). While the Storm have two games remaining against the likely-lottery-bound Minnesota Lynx, they are certainly a better team than the Fever.
At the end of the day, the Mystics have a good shot to finish with a higher regular season record than the Storm but can’t take games for granted. Hopefully, that allows the Mystics to start the playoffs as a No. 4 seed.
If the Mystics can make the second round of the playoffs, which team would be ideal?
To me, the Aces would be a better match because the Mystics already have the tiebreaker against them (though it’s unrealistic for Washington to tie them now). The Sky are more balanced and deep than the Mystics so it’s unlikely that Washington can beat them in a best-of-five series. Still, that’s not the most pressing question for the Mystics and their postseason goals because they’ll have to win their first round match, possibly against Seattle to get there.
At least Washington won a game (so far) against Chicago and two against Las Vegas. For that matter, the Mystics have also defeated the third place Connecticut Sun and fourth place Storm. The Mystics won’t be an easy out in the playoffs, but it’s also possible that they will be underdogs in most of their series later this month.