For the second time the Lynx and Sparks would play in a winner takes all Game 5 of the WNBA Finals. The Sparks won last years game 5, picking up their third championship in league history thanks to a put back with 3.1 seconds left by Nneka Ogwumike. The Lynx had one last half court heave from Lindsay Whalen that looked good, but hit the front rim and the Sparks won.
When the 2017 season started, pretty much everyone was convinced that we would get a repeat of one of the best finals in league history; A five game series with neither team winning back to back games. Road teams winning a game on the home teams court three times and the magnificent game 5 buzzer beater to cap it off.
WHY wouldn’t we want that again?!
The Lynx had a piece of first place for the whole season, whether they were the lone team in first place, or tied with the Sparks. It was the Lynx and Sparks, one and two all season long.
Late in the season the Lynx were wondering if they would hold onto the number one seed, as they saw their lead for first place dwindle down to a half game at one point. To keep first place and home court throughout the playoffs, the Lynx would need to finish the season on a three game win streak.
The Fever, Sky, and the Mystics were the final three opponents for the Lynx. The Lynx did indeed finish the season on a three game win streak, holding onto the coveted number one seed and home court throughout the playoffs for the second straight season.
The Lynx and Sparks swept the Washington Mystics and the Phoenix Mercury respectively, which meant…
2016 FINALS REMATCH PART 2
Game 1 of the WNBA Finals took place in Minneapolis at Williams Arena, yes that Williams Arena, the home of the Golden Gophers, due to other events taking place at the Xcel Energy Center. The Lynx looking to get revenge from last years heartbreaking loss, the Sparks trying to repeat for the first time since the Sparks did it way back in 2000-2001.
I have never seen a 28-2 run before. I have never seen a 28-2 run before against the Lynx. I have never seen a 28-2 run to start a game. That was something. Somehow the Lynx had cut the lead to 10 heading into half, 43-33. The Lynx battled back in the third quarter, but still found themselves down six going into the final quarter of the game.
Essence Carson missed two free throws. A Lynx rebound leads to a fast break. Maya Moore is running down the right side of the court. Lindsay Whalen makes a perfect pass, Moore with the lay up and the Lynx took their first lead of the game, 84-83, with just five seconds left. UNREAL is all I remember thinking at the time when Moore got that easy lay up. This could not happen again to the Lynx, right?? Right?! The Sparks got the ball at half court, inbounded the ball to Chelsea Gray, who drove to right above the free throw line over Moore and Seimone Augustus. The BALL goes in. LA is up 85-83 with two seconds left. IT HAPPENED AGAIN.
LYNX 0 SPARKS 1
The Lynx came out with a fire lit under them to start game 2. There was no 28-2 run to start the game for the Sparks. The Lynx started the game with energy and a hunger. After one quarter the Lynx were up 28-10. The Sparks threw a punch in quarter one of game 1 and the Lynx respond by throwing a punch of their own in game 2.
The Sparks fought their way back into the game, after Candace Parker hit two free throws with 30 seconds left in the game, cutting the Lynx lead to two, 70-68. After a missed shot by the Lynx, the Sparks took a timeout still only down two points. The Lynx needed a stop, and they got it with a five second call. Then, a turnover happened again. Right after the five second call, the Lynx turned the ball right back over on the inbounds pass. The Sparks had the ball down two with 13 seconds left. They inbounded from the same spot as in game 1, with Gray catching going towards the basket and somehow, Rebekkah Brunson and Moore stripped Gray of the ball and the LYNX held on to win.
LYNX 1 SPARKS 1
I was at a friend’s wedding for this one as the series shifted back to LA for the next two games of the series.
Pretty much the story of the game was the Lynx would get close, but couldn’t get over the mountain, and the Sparks would pull away. Then the Lynx would cut the Sparks lead to two points, but just could never get it tied or take the lead. The Sparks would end up taking game 3 by nine points
Lynx 1 SPARKS 2
The Lynx needed to win to keep their season alive. Backs against the wall usually means the Lynx came out ready to go. They knew they needed to leave everything on the floor that Sunday evening. The early turning point is when Whalen fouled Odyssey Sims HARD drawing a flagrant 1 foul and two three free throws for Sims. She knocked all three of them down and L.A. looked like they were ready to take off. Then, the Lynx took over and never really looked back, building a 16 point lead.
Brunson, aka “The Machine” was the MVP for the Lynx in game 4. Her energy was at another level and that is exactly what the Lynx needed. The dagger for the Lynx was an offensive rebound that bounded into Brunson hands who flipped it to Maya, who laid it up and got fouled for an AND 1 late in the game. The Lynx survive and advance to game 5.
LYNX 2 SPARKS 2
40 Minutes is all that was left in the 2017 WNBA season. The Sparks were either going to repeat, or the Lynx were going to get revenge from last year. This game was what EVERY WNBA fan was hoping and wanting since the finish of last years game 5. Entering the game, these teams were tied at 908 points a piece in their last 12 match ups. That is IMPRESSIVE.
The game was an officially sold out 14,632 fans packed Williams Area in gray t-shirts matching the gray jerseys the Lynx were dawning. Williams Arena was ROCKING even before the tip off. “You know why it’s LOUD??.. Because it’s a BARN!” (From Lindsay to Sylvia Fowles after game 1).
The Lynx couldn’t have started any better in game 5, and a much better start then they had back in game 1. The Lynx scored the first seven points of the game, including a long three pointer from Whalen that made the roof come off early on. The Lynx, like in game 4, were crushing the Sparks on the boards and in second chance points.
At half the Lynx were clinging to the lead as the Sparks finished the first half on a nice run to cut the lead from 12 to six in a heartbeat. That wouldn’t be their last HUGE run in the game either.
The fourth quarter rolled around with Lynx holding onto a four point lead with 10 minutes left to the season. This quarter was a battle back and fourth for the opening minutes, but then the Lynx started to pull away and had built a 12 point lead with two minutes left. Lynx fans were feeling good being two minutes away from getting back their Championship, but just then the Sparks TURNED UP their defense big time. They caused three straight turnovers, capitalizing on those turnovers with a 9-0 run to cut the Lynx lead to three. Lynx fans were getting flashbacks to the final minutes of last years games 5, and were thinking, “this can’t happen again, can it?!” TRUST me I was thinking this as I was standing watching this run by the Sparks. The Lynx inbounded again to Augustus, as she had to save the ball and toss it back to Folwes, who then had Moore come get the ball. Moore made a couple moves and a few dribbles, pulled up and KNOCKED down the biggest shot of the game, extending the Lynx lead back to five with 20 seconds left. The storybook ending happened as well, as Whalen was fouled with 8.3 seconds left and she put in the last two points of the season from the free line, which she knew well from her college days.
THE LYNX CAPTURE their FOURTH championship in SEVEN years.
Welcome to the Lynx Dynasty…