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WNBA playoff image, standings, projections: Sky clinch a top-two seed; Sparks preserve faint hopes alive

WNBA playoff image, standings, projections: Sky clinch a top-two seed; Sparks preserve faint hopes alive

The 2022 WNBA common season is winding down, however the playoff race is heating up. Thus far, 5 groups have punched their tickets to the playoffs — the Chicago Sky, Las Vegas Aces, Connecticut Solar, Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics — whereas the Indiana Fever are the one group to be eradicated. 

Wanting nearer, there have been no seeds locked in, and various thrilling races stay. The highest three groups are all within the hunt for the No. 1 seed; the Storm and Mystics are battling it out for fourth; and 6 groups from Sixth-Eleventh are in an actual scrap for the ultimate three spots. 

As a reminder, the WNBA has as soon as once more modified its playoff system. Whereas the highest eight groups will nonetheless make the playoffs, there aren’t any extra byes. As a substitute, each group will start play within the first spherical with an ordinary bracket format that options the No. 1 seed vs. the No. 8 seed, the No. 2 seed vs. the No. 7 seed, the No. 3 seed vs. the No. 6 seed, and the No. 4 seed vs. the No. 5 seed. The bracket is not going to be re-seeded after the primary spherical. 

The primary-round matchups will probably be best-of-three sequence, with the upper seed taking part in Video games 1 and a couple of at dwelling, and the decrease seed internet hosting Sport 3. The semifinals and finals will each be best-of-five sequence with a 2-2-1 format, which implies the upper seeds will host Video games 1, 2 and 5, whereas the decrease seeded group will host Video games 3 and 4. 

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Present standings

1. Chicago Sky (25-8) — Playoff spot clinched

2. Las Vegas Aces (23-10) — Playoff spot clinched

3. Connecticut Solar (22-11) — Playoff spot clinched

4. Seattle Storm (20-13) — Playoff spot clinched

5. Washington Mystics (20-14) — Playoff spot clinched

6. Dallas Wings (16-16)

7. Atlanta Dream (14-18)

8. Phoenix Mercury (14-19)

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9. New York Liberty (13-19)

10. Minnesota Lynx (13-20)

11. Los Angeles Sparks (13-20)

12. Indiana Fever (5-29) — Eradicated

Because the motion continues down the stretch, this is a better have a look at the playoff image: 

Race for the No. 1 seed

1. Chicago Sky (25-8) — Playoff spot clinched

  • Video games remaining: 3 (vs. Storm, at Aces, at Mercury)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Aces: 1-1 in season sequence with one recreation remaining; vs. Solar: gained season sequence 3-0
  • Present first-round matchup: vs. No. 8 Phoenix Mercury

The Sky almost blew a 17-point result in the Solar however got here up with some massive pictures down the stretch to safe their second straight win, clinching a minimum of a top-two seed. They nonetheless have some work to do to carry off the Aces, nevertheless, particularly with the 2 groups set to satisfy subsequent week in a recreation that can determine the tiebreaker between them. 

2. Las Vegas Aces (23-10) — Playoff spot clinched

  • Video games remaining: 3 (vs. Dream, vs. Sky, vs. Storm)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Sky: 1-1 in season sequence with one recreation remaining; vs. Solar: gained season sequence 2-1
  • Present first-round matchup: vs. No. 7 Atlanta Dream

After a shock loss to the Wings, the Aces bounced again with a powerful highway win over the Storm in Sue Hen’s final common season recreation in Seattle. A’ja Wilson led the best way with 29 factors because the Aces stored tempo with the Sky within the hunt for the No. 1 seed, shifting to 1 recreation forward of the Solar within the race for second place. 

3. Connecticut Solar (22-11) — Playoff spot clinched

  • Video games remaining: 3 (two at Sparks, vs. Lynx)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Sky: misplaced season sequence 0-4; vs. Aces: misplaced season sequence 1-2
  • Present first-round matchup: vs. 6 Dallas Wings

The Solar’s scorching streak got here to an finish on Sunday afternoon with a heartbreaking loss to the Sky, dropping them to 0-4 towards the defending champs this season. With that loss, the Solar are formally out of the race for the No. 1 seed. The very best they’ll do now could be second place, although even that will probably be a problem contemplating they don’t have the tiebreaker towards the Aces. 

Two groups combating for No. 4

4. Seattle Storm (20-13)

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  • Video games remaining: 3 (at Sky, at Lynx, at Aces)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mystics: gained season sequence 2-1
  • Present first-round matchup: vs. No. 5 Washington Mystics

5. Washington Mystics (20-14)

  • Video games remaining: 2 (at Fever, vs. Fever)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Storm: misplaced season sequence 1-2
  • Present first-round matchup: vs. No. 4 Seattle Storm

One of many tightest races proper now could be in the course of the standings the place the Storm and Mystics are going head-to-head for fourth place and home-court benefit within the first spherical of the playoffs. Each groups have been in motion on Sunday, and each suffered defeats — the Storm by the hands of the Aces, and the Mystics in somewhat controversial fashion to the Sparks

These outcomes have the Storm in entrance by a half recreation within the standings with one recreation in hand. The Storm even have the tiebreaker between the 2 groups, which might be the distinction maker come the top of the common season. 

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Spots 6-8 up for grabs

6. Dallas Wings (16-16)

  • Video games remaining: 4 (two vs. Liberty, at Mercury, at Sparks)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: 2-1 in season sequence with one recreation remaining; vs. Sparks: 1-2 in season sequence with one recreation remaining; vs. Dream: misplaced season sequence 1-2; vs. Liberty: 1-0 in season sequence with two video games remaining; vs. Lynx: gained season sequence 2-1
  • Present first-round matchup: vs. No. 3 Connecticut Solar

The Wings acquired down by 20 factors to the lowly Fever on Saturday night time, however they got here all the best way again to safe an extra time win. Now on a season-long four-game successful streak, the Wings are again to .500 and have a three-game lead over the ninth-place Liberty. They’re in excellent form, however with two video games left towards the Liberty they nonetheless have some work to do to safe a spot. 

7. Atlanta Dream (14-19)

  • Video games remaining: 3 (at Aces, vs. Liberty, at Liberty)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: gained season sequence 2-1; Sparks: gained season sequence 2-1; vs. Wings: gained season sequence 2-1; vs. Liberty: 1-1 in season sequence with two video games remaining; vs. Lynx: misplaced season sequence 1-2
  • Present first-round matchup: vs. No. 2 Las Vegas Aces

The shorthanded Dream fell to the Lynx on Sunday, dropping the tiebreaker between the golf equipment within the course of. They’re now clinging to seventh place by way of a tiebreaker over the Mercury, and their lead over the ninth-place Liberty is all the way down to half a recreation with two matchups left between them. The Dream have some actual work to do to safe a playoff spot. 

8. Phoenix Mercury (14-19)

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  • Video games remaining: 3 (vs. Lynx, vs. Wings, vs. Sky)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Sparks: season sequence tied 2-2, at the moment personal tiebreaker by way of higher file towards groups above .500; vs. Wings: 1-2 in season sequence with one recreation remaining; vs. Dream: misplaced season sequence 1-2; vs. Liberty: gained season sequence 2-1; vs. Lynx: misplaced season sequence 0-3
  • Present first-round matchup: vs. No. 1 Chicago Sky

The Mercury lastly returned dwelling on Saturday, they usually acquired again on observe with an enormous victory over the Liberty regardless of being with out each Skylar Diggins-Smith (sickness) and Diana Taurasi (quad). With this win, the Mercury took the season sequence with the Liberty and jumped them to maneuver into eighth place within the standings. 

9. New York Liberty (13-19)

  • Video games remaining: 4 (two at Wings, at Dream, vs. Dream)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: misplaced season sequence 1-2; vs. Sparks: gained season sequence 2-1; vs. Wings: 0-1 in season sequence with two video games remaining; vs. Dream: 1-1 in season sequence with two video games remaining; vs. Lynx: misplaced season sequence 1-2
  • Present first-round matchup: N/A

Regardless of Sabrina’s Ionescu’s excellent play of late, the Liberty’s three-game successful streak got here to an finish in irritating vogue on Saturday, as they shot 30.9 p.c from the sphere and misplaced to a Mercury group that was taking part in with out Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi. With that end result, they misplaced the tiebreaker to the Mercury and fell to ninth place within the standings. 

10. Minnesota Lynx (13-20)

  • Video games remaining: 3 (at Mercury, vs. Storm, at Solar)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: gained season sequence 3-0; vs. Sparks: gained season sequence 2-1; vs. Wings: misplaced season sequence 1-2; vs. Dream: gained season sequence 2-1; vs. Liberty: gained season sequence 2-1 
  • Present first-round matchup: N/A

The Lynx desperately wanted a win on Sunday, they usually acquired one as they took care of the Dream in Napheesa Collier’s return to action. Minnesota is now just one recreation behind each Phoenix (eighth) and Atlanta (seventh) and has the tiebreaker over each of these groups. With three video games remaining, together with one towards the Mercury, the Lynx are proper on this. 

11. Los Angeles Sparks (13-20)

  • Video games remaining: 3 (two vs. Solar, vs. Wings)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: season sequence tied 2-2, at the moment dropping tiebreaker by way of worse file towards groups above .500; vs. Wings: 2-1 in season sequence with one recreation remaining; vs. Dream: misplaced season sequence 1-2; vs. Liberty: misplaced season sequence 1-2; vs. Lynx: misplaced season sequence 1-2
  • Present first-round matchup: vs. N/A

Due to a shocking, considerably controversial win over the Mystics on Sunday, the Sparks lastly snapped their six-game dropping streak and stored their faint playoff hopes alive. They’re just one recreation behind each the Dream and Mercury for seventh and eighth, respectively, however shouldn’t have the tiebreaker towards both group. Plus, they nonetheless have two video games left towards the third-place Solar. 

The underside of the playoff image is one thing of a multitude, with the 5 groups between seventh and Eleventh within the standings separated by only one recreation. Every group has a minimum of one recreation left towards the opposite groups on this group, and solely a handful of tiebreakers have been settled. All of which implies these present standings aren’t going to remain the identical for lengthy. 

Eradicated

12. Indiana Fever (5-29)

The Fever have now misplaced 16 straight video games and have been the primary group eradicated from the playoffs. With a sixth straight lottery look on the best way, they’re going to be hoping for some luck with the ping pong balls to assist finish the worst stretch in franchise historical past. 

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