WNBA playoff image, standings, projections: Sky consolidate first-place lead; Sparks on the ropes

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

Looking nearer, there have been no seeds locked in, and quite a few thrilling races stay. The prime three groups are all in 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 last three spots.

As a reminder, the WNBA has as soon as once more modified its playoff system. While the prime eight groups will nonetheless make the playoffs, there are not any extra byes. Instead, each crew will start play in the first spherical with a regular 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 seeds. The bracket is not going to be re-seeded after the first spherical.

The first-round matchups might be best-of-three collection, with the increased seed taking part in Games 1 and a couple of at dwelling, and the decrease seed internet hosting Game 3. The semifinals and finals will each be best-of-five collection with a 2 -2-1 format, which suggests the increased seeds will host Games 1, 2 and 5, whereas the decrease seeded crew will host Games 3 and 4.

Current standings

1. Chicago Sky (24-8) — Playoff spot clinched

2. Las Vegas Aces (22-10) — Playoff spot clinched

3. Connecticut Sun (22-10) — Playoff spot clinched

4. Seattle Storm (20-12) — Playoff spot clinched

5. Washington Mystics (20-13) — Playoff spot clinched

6. Dallas Wings (15-16)

7. Atlanta Dream (14-18)

8. New York Liberty (13-18)

9. Phoenix Mercury (13-19)

10. Minnesota Lynx (12-20)

11. Los Angeles Sparks (12-20)

12. Indiana Fever (5-27) — Eliminated

As the motion continues down the stretch, this is a better take a look at the playoff image:

Race for the No. 1 seed

1. Chicago Sky (24-8) — Playoff spot clinched

  • Games remaining: 4 (incl. at Aces)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Aces: 1-1 in season collection with one recreation remaining; vs. Sun: gained season collection 3-0
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. No. 8 New York Liberty

The Sky regarded like a crew on a mission on Friday night time, as they simply dispatched the Mystics to get again in the win column. With that consequence they consolidated their lead in first place and now have a two-game benefit over each the Aces and the Sun. They nonetheless need to play every crew down the stretch, although, so their work is just not achieved.

2. Las Vegas Aces (22-10) — Playoff spot clinched

  • Games remaining: 4 (incl. vs. Sky)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Sky: 1-1 in season collection with one recreation remaining; vs. Sun: gained season collection 2-1
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. No. 7 Atlanta Dream

Losing to the Mystics was one factor, however nobody predicted the Aces to comply with that up with a defeat to the Wings. After two straight losses they’re now two video games behind the Sky in the race for first and are solely clinging to second through a tiebreaker over the Sun. Things will not get any simpler for the Aces both, as a visit to Seattle to play the Storm is subsequent on the docket.

3. Connecticut Sun (22-10) — Playoff spot clinched

  • Games remaining: 4
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Sky: misplaced season collection 0-3; vs. Aces: misplaced season collection 1-2
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. 6 Dallas Wings

After cruising previous the Mercury for the second straight recreation, the Sun have now gained six of their final seven. In doing so, they’ve capitalized on the Aces’ current slip-up and have drawn stage with them in the standings. Losing the tiebreaker to each the Aces and Sky has put the Sun at an obstacle, however they’ve a straightforward schedule down the stretch and are nonetheless in the combine for a top-two seed.

Two groups preventing for No. 4

4. Seattle Storm (20-12)

  • Games remaining: 4
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mystics: gained season collection 2-1
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. No. 5 Washington Mystics

5. Washington Mystics (20-13)

  • Games remaining: 3
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Storm: misplaced season collection 1-2
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. No. 4 Seattle Storm

One of the tightest races proper now could be in the center of the standings the place the Storm and Mystics are going head-to-head for fourth place and home-court benefit in the first spherical of the playoffs. In the newest swing, the Storm beat the Lynx on Wednesday, whereas the Mystics misplaced to the Sky on Friday.

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

Spots 6-8 up for grabs

6. Dallas Wings (15-16)

  • Games remaining: 5 (incl. two vs. Liberty, at Mercury, at Sparks)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: 2-1 in season collection with one recreation remaining; vs. Sparks: 1-2 in season collection with one recreation remaining; vs. Dream: misplaced season collection 1-2; vs. Liberty: 1-0 in season collection with two video games remaining; vs. Lynx: gained season collection 2-1
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. No. 3 Connecticut Sun

Despite as soon as once more taking part in with out Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally, the Wings picked up one other main win on Thursday over the Aces. They’ve now gained three in a row and 4 of their final 5 to offer themselves some actual respiratory room in sixth place. With a 2.5-game lead over the ninth-place Mercury and simply 5 video games remaining, they’re in actual fine condition.

7. Atlanta Dream (14-18)

  • Games remaining: 4 (incl. at Lynx, vs. Liberty, at Liberty)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: gained season collection 2-1; Sparks: gained season collection 2-1; vs. Wings: gained season collection 2-1; vs. Liberty: 1-1 in season collection with two video games remaining; vs. Lynx: 1-1 in the season collection with one recreation remaining
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. No. 2 Las Vegas Aces

The Dream picked up their greatest win of the season in dramatic style on Friday night time, as they took down the Sparks on a last-second layup by Cheyenne Parker. That consequence gave them the tiebreaker over the Sparks and means they’re now on their own in seventh place. With a one-game lead on the ninth-place Mercury, and the tiebreaker between them, the Dream are in nice form.

8. New York Liberty (13-18)

  • Games remaining: 5 (incl. at Mercury, two at Wings, at Dream, vs. Dream)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: 1-1 in season collection with one recreation remaining; vs. Sparks: gained season collection 2-1; vs. Wings: 0-1 in season collection with two video games remaining; vs. Dream: 1-1 in season collection with two video games remaining; vs. Lynx: misplaced season collection 1-2
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. No. 1 Chicago Sky

The Liberty’s potential saving grace coming down the stretch has all the time been their schedule, they usually’ve taken benefit in current days with three straight large wins over the Mercury and Sparks. As a consequence they’ve jumped up into eighth place for the time being and now management their very own future.

9. Phoenix Mercury (13-19)

  • Games remaining: 4 (incl. vs. Liberty, vs. Wings)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Sparks: season collection tied 2-2, at present personal tiebreaker through higher document in opposition to groups above .500; vs. Wings: 1-2 in season collection with one recreation remaining; vs. Dream: misplaced season collection 1-2; vs. Liberty: 1-1 in season collection with one recreation remaining; vs. Lynx: misplaced season collection 0-3
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. No. 2 Las Vegas Aces

Another recreation, one other loss for the Mercury, whose East Coast street journey was a complete catastrophe. They misplaced all three video games by double digits, and appeared emotionally drained by the Brittney Griner verdict throughout Thursday’s 77-64 loss to the Sun. Although on their own in ninth, they’re nonetheless simply half a recreation out of seventh, however we’ll see what kind of response they’ve on Saturday at dwelling in a must-win vs. the Liberty.

11. Minnesota Lynx (12-20)

  • Games remaining: 4 (incl. vs. Dream)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: gained season collection 3-0; vs. Sparks: gained season collection 2-1; vs. Wings: misplaced season collection 1-2; vs. Dream: 1-1 in season collection with one recreation remaining; vs. Liberty: gained season collection 2-1
  • Current first-round matchup: N/A

Two straight wins had gotten the Lynx to inside a half-game of a playoff spot heading into Wednesday, however the night time went about as poorly as attainable for them. They misplaced to the Storm, did not get any assist in the different video games and are actually 1.5 video games out of eighth with simply 4 video games remaining.

11. Los Angeles Sparks (12-20)

  • Games remaining: 4 (incl. at Dream, vs. Wings)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: season collection tied 2-2, at present shedding tiebreaker through worse document in opposition to groups above .500; vs. Wings: 2-1 in season collection with one recreation remaining; vs. Dream: misplaced season collection 1-2; vs. Liberty: misplaced season collection 1-2; vs. Lynx: misplaced season collection 1-2
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. N/A

Friday night time’s heartbreaking last-second loss to the Dream may need been the finish for the Sparks, who’ve now misplaced six video games in a row. They’re 1.5 video games out of eighth and two video games out of seventh with simply 4 video games remaining, and do not have the tiebreaker in opposition to both Liberty or Dream.

The backside of the playoff image is one thing of a multitude, with the 5 groups between seventh and Eleventh in the standings separated by simply two video games. Each crew has a minimum of one recreation left in opposition to the different groups on this group, and solely a handful of tiebreakers have been settled. All of which suggests these present standings will not be going to remain the similar for lengthy.

Eliminated

12. Indiana Fever (5-28)

The Fever have now misplaced 15 straight video games and had been the first crew eradicated from the playoffs. With a sixth straight lottery look on the method, 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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