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 workforce to be eradicated.

Looking nearer, there have been no seeds locked in, and various 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 closing 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 workforce 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 sequence, with the greater seed taking part in Games 1 and a pair of at house, and the decrease seed internet hosting Game 3. The semifinals and finals will each be best-of-five sequence with a 2 -2-1 format, which suggests the greater seeds will host Games 1, 2 and 5, whereas the decrease seeded workforce 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 more in-depth 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 sequence with one sport remaining; vs. Sun: received season sequence 3-0
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. no 8 New York Liberty

The Sky seemed like a workforce on a mission on Friday evening, as they simply dispatched the Mystics to get again in the win column. With that end result they consolidated their lead in first place and now have a two-game benefit over each the Aces and the Sun. They nonetheless must play every workforce down the stretch, although, so their work isn’t accomplished.

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

  • Games remaining: 4 (incl. vs. Sky)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Sky: 1-1 in season sequence with one sport remaining; vs. Sun: received season sequence 2-1
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. no 7 Atlanta Dream

Losing to the Mystics was one factor, however nobody predicted the Aces to observe 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 on to second by way of 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 sequence 0-3; vs. Aces: misplaced season sequence 1-2
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. 6 Dallas Wings

After cruising previous the Mercury for the second straight sport, the Sun have now received six of their final seven. In doing so, they’ve capitalized on the Aces’ latest 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 a drawback, 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: received season sequence 2-1
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. no 5 Washington Mystics

5. Washington Mystics (20-13)

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

One of the tightest races proper now’s 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 sport in the standings with one sport 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 sequence with one sport remaining; vs. Sparks: 1-2 in season sequence with one sport remaining; vs. Dream: misplaced season sequence 1-2; vs. Liberty: 1-0 in season sequence with two video games remaining; vs. Lynx: received season sequence 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 received 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 good condition.

7. Atlanta Dream (14-18)

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

The Dream picked up their largest win of the season in dramatic vogue on Friday evening, as they took down the Sparks on a last-second layup by Cheyenne Parker. That end result gave them the tiebreaker over the Sparks and means they’re now on their lonesome 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 sequence with one sport remaining; vs. Sparks: received 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
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. no 1 Chicago Sky

The Liberty’s potential saving grace coming down the stretch has at all times been their schedule, they usually’ve taken benefit in latest days with three straight huge wins over the Mercury and Sparks. As a end result 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 sequence tied 2-2, presently personal tiebreaker by way of higher report towards groups above .500; vs. Wings: 1-2 in season sequence with one sport remaining; vs. Dream: misplaced season sequence 1-2; vs. Liberty: 1-1 in season sequence with one sport remaining; vs. Lynx: misplaced season sequence 0-3
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. no 2 Las Vegas Aces

Another sport, one other loss for the Mercury, whose East Coast highway 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 lonesome in ninth, they’re nonetheless simply half a sport out of seventh, however we’ll see what kind of response they’ve on Saturday at house in a must-win vs. the Liberty.

11. Minnesota Lynx (12-20)

  • Games remaining: 4 (incl. vs. Dream)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: received season sequence 3-0; vs. Sparks: received season sequence 2-1; vs. Wings: misplaced season sequence 1-2; vs. Dream: 1-1 in season sequence with one sport remaining; vs. Liberty: received season sequence 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 evening went about as poorly as potential for them. They misplaced to the Storm, did not get any assist in the different video games and at the moment are 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 sequence tied 2-2, presently dropping tiebreaker by way of worse report towards groups above .500; vs. Wings: 2-1 in season sequence with one sport remaining; vs. Dream: misplaced season sequence 1-2; vs. Liberty: misplaced season sequence 1-2; vs. Lynx: misplaced season sequence 1-2
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. N/A

Friday evening’s heartbreaking last-second loss to the Dream might 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, they usually do not have the tiebreaker towards 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 workforce has a minimum of one sport left towards the different groups on this group, and solely a handful of tiebreakers have been settled. All of which suggests these present standings are usually not going to remain the identical for lengthy.

Eliminated

12. Indiana Fever (5-28)

The Fever have now misplaced 15 straight video games and have been the first workforce 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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