Sunday, August 12, 2007

Clear Sky (but still a clouded forecast)

The Sun easily handled the Chicago Sky Saturday, 88-66, to kick off their four-game road trip in successful fashion. They also moved within 1.5 games of second-place Indiana (a 74-69 loser to the Detroit Shock) and stand a win or a New York loss away from clinching a playoff spot.

Strangely, according on the standings, the Sun have clinched a spot (denoted by the small 'x' next to their name) but they clearly haven't. There remains the possible, though improbable, scenario of the Sun losing out and the Liberty winning out, putting them both at 17-17 and tied 2-2 in the season series, and the Liberty moving into the playoffs because they would then own a better in-conference record (11-9 to 9-11).

The Liberty, however, have the toughest test in the WNBA today as they host Detroit, which wrapped up homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs with its victory over Indiana on Saturday.

Unlike the West, where the playoff field is set, every team remains in contention in the East. Chicago, despite dropping to 12-19, can still win out and finish 16-19, meaning it has a chance of catching the fourth-place Washington Mystics. Washington, entering a match-up with Sacramento today (Sunday), stands at 14-16.

That being said, expect Tuesday's Sun-Mystics match-up to be a heated one. Here's a look at the full standings in both conference's.

* Detroit: 24-6 (.800) --
* Indiana: 19-12 (.613) 5.5 games back
Connecticut: 17-13 (.567) 7.0 games back
Washington: 14-16 (.467) 10.0 games back
New York: 12-17 (.414) 11.5 games back
Chicago: 12-19 (.387) 12.5 games back

* Phoenix: 21-11 (.656) -- (The Mercury set a franchise record with 21-reg. season wins)
* San Antonio: 19-11 (.633) 1.0 game back
* Sacramento: 17-13 (.567) 3.0 games back
* Seattle: 15-17 (.469) 6.0 games back
o Houston: 11-20 (.355) 9.5 games back
o Los Angeles: 9-21 (.300) 11.0 games back
o Minnesota: 8-22 (.267) 12.0 games back

* Clinched playoff spot
o Eliminated from playoff contention

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