The Fever took third place from the Mystics with a win Wednesday night, but in all likelihood Washington will hold onto playoff position at least through Friday – win or lose against the Dream – because the Liberty are facing a Sky team they are 0-4 against.
Washington has to embrace the opportunity to go two games up on the Liberty before traveling to Atlanta next Wednesday and likely losing the extra game lead after New York likely defeats Connecticut this Sunday.
Another way of looking at it is: if the Mystics can win either of their next two games against a team that has been their Achilles’ heel, they will be in a much better position heading into September than if they get swept. Ultimately, they control their own destiny. They have a fairly easy September schedule (two games against the Sun) and the opportunity to play the Liberty head-to-head on their home court on the last day of their season. But stealing one from the Dream right now would do so much for their psyche and may prevent that last game of the season from meaning anything. It could be the difference between a stressful September and a relaxing one.
But that was the story entering the Mystics’ last game against Chicago as well. And in many ways that game was the most winnable of this stretch of four against either the Sky or Dream because it was at Verizon and against a team the Mystics have had considerable success against.
But Friday’s game is at Verizon too and the Mystics at their best should be good enough to beat anybody, even Atlanta.
This season the Dream have lost to Connecticut, Indiana, Tulsa, Seattle and New York twice. All those teams have losing records like Washington, but for some reason the Mystics just really struggle against Atlanta.
The Dream were one of only two Eastern Conference teams to sweep the Mystics last year (the other was a Mike Thibault coached Connecticut team that finished first in the conference). This year, Atlanta is the only team from the East that can still possibly sweep the Mystics. As a side note: the Sparks are the only Western Conference team that swept the Mystics in both 2012 and 2013, but obviously that was easier for them since they only play Washington twice a year.
It should also be noted how unlucky the Mystics are that the two Eastern Conference teams they have to play five times instead of four this year are the Sky and the Dream.
But who knows, maybe Washington’s futility against Atlanta will come to an end. They certainly have been impressive in their last two first quarters and could be a force to be reckoned with if they can play that way for entire games.