(Guru's note: This is the third of three blog posts for Saturday being separated due to unrelated content. It appears, though, the two right beneath this one posted in reverse order to what the precede says, but you get the idea.)
By Mel Greenberg
Well, it was quite the night Friday, in the logjam race for playoff spots that will end next weekend.
The Connecticut Sun saved themselves from a near-fatal fall but in the process dispatched the New York Liberty 88-85 in overtime to the draft lottery, which should result in a good placement for either selection or trade value.
The Detroit Shock took a huge step, also in overtime, beating the Indiana Fever at home, 70-62, as the Fever have yet to clinch an outright East crown, though they own the top playoff seed in the conference. Their slide, however, could cost them overall home court advantage since they are now tied in the loss column with Phoenix.
The Atlanta Dream continued to make the all-time jump from rookie status (4-30 last year) to clinching a .500 record (17-14) with a 98-90 win at Sacramento that left the Monarchs hanging by a fingernail.
This is how it stands for the folks in an area once known for panning gold. If Minnesota drops out of the equation, Sacramento needs San Antonio to lose all four remaining games and the Monarchs must win their remaining two games including one next week with San Antonio. In that tie, the Monarchs would go at 3-1 over the Silver Stars on the season. They also need Minnesota lose all four remaining games, though the Guru will update this all after Saturday's games in terms of Sacramento.
And Chicago at home made a slight step forward while Washington stumbled backwards with the Sky winning in the Midwest, 91-86.
So let's go to the board.
Atlanta: Road (2): at Phoenix - Sept. 5; at Washington - Sept. 12.
Home (1) Connecticut- Sept. 11.
Washington: Road (2) at Indiana - Sept. 5; at New York - Sept. 13.
Home (1) Atlanta - Sept. 12.
Chicago: Road (1) ar Detroit - Sept. 6.
Home (2) Indiana - Sept. 10; Detroit - Sept. 12.
Connecticut: Road (1) at Atlanta, Sept. 11.
Home (1) Indiana - Sept. 13.
Detroit: Road (2) at Minnesota - Sept. 9; at Chicago - Sept. 12
Home (2) Chicago - Sept. 6; New York - Sept. 10.
New York: eliminated
Summary: Basically everyone must keep winning, although Detroit may have a margin of error.
Here are best-case scenaio forecasts without regard to upsets. Wild card has become Indiana finishing out with Katie Douglas sidelined in terms of affecting other Eastern teams. Also, remember that while each is looked at as team's best hope, those that success will be costly to others' best hopes.
Atlanta: 2-1 or 1-2. We'll update after Saturday to look at tie-break situation.
Washington: 1-2 or 2-1 but a win at Indiana Sunday would be big for many reasons. And the Mystics better win at New York next week.
Chicago: 0-3 but the Sky grabbed one on Friday against Washington. Nothing easy with Indiana plus a home-and-home with Detroit left.
Connecticut: lost a forecasted win and now could be either 2-1 or 1-2 with help needed. Being right behind a bunched ground of Washington, Detroit, and Chicago, the Sun may have to go 3-0 because Detroit does not appear likely to take a deep slide and Connecticut needs to minimize tie-breakers for the last spot.
Detroit: 3-1 picked up another steal and is in great shape. Could even go 4-0.
Western Group (and remember we're talking about qualifying, not placement):
Minnesota: Road (2) at Los Angeles - Sept. 11; at Sacramento - Sept. 13.
Home: (2) Seattle - Sept. 5; Detroit - Sept. 9.
San Antonio: Road (2) at Los Angeles - Sept. 8; at Sacramento - Sept. 10.
Home (2) Los Angeles - Sept. 5; Seattle - Sept. 12.
Sacramento: Road (0)
Home (2) San Antonio - Sept. 10; Minnesota - Sept. 13.
Summary: San Antonio must win Saturday in Los Angeles to get some breathing space.
Minnesota: 1-3 but could lose all 4. The Lynx really needed to beat San Antonio.
San Antonio: 3-1 is not out of question but more likely 2-2 although nothing is a lock in projected wins.
Sacramento: 1-1 but, as said, must go 2-0.