I'll start this game wrap the same way I ended the game thread: I honestly don't think Diana Taurasi has ever lost a game this badly in her life.
If you had told me at any point this year that the Lynx would beat the Mercury by 28 in the playoffs, I would have literally died laughing. The Mercury don't get blown out by anyone.
Except tonight they did.
Game 3 against the Stars was the best game any 'Sota pro sports team has played in a long, long time. And this was even better. The Lynx took an early 15-3 lead and (unlike a certain purple horned team...) never looked back. Even when the Mercury rallied to close the gap to 6, it never felt like they really had a chance.
Everything that could have gone right for the home team did. Their shots fell. Phoenix's didn't. 'Sota won the glass, won the free throw line, won the hustle plays, and otherwise so thoroughly vexed the Mercury that a couple of their players went Ron Artest....erm, excuse me.....went 'Meta World Peace'....blatantly shoving Lynx players to the deck in frustration (att'a girl Wiggins). The Mercury haven't looked this dysfunctional since before 'D' was drafted, and that says a hell of a lot about your home town ladies.
- Seimone Augustus is really good at basketball. She drew arguably the toughest assignment in all the WNBA....head-to-head with Taurasi....and she not only stepped up to the plate, but she won. It cannot be stressed enough how huge that is. When I floated ideas about how the Lynx were going to deal with 'D', it never crossed my mind to suggest just trying to outplay her, because...well...that just really doesn't ever happen. That's like gameplanning the Heat by saying "let's just try to straight up outplay LeBron". Seimone owned this one.
- Taj once again made the most of her +/- capabilities. Another +26 carried by another stellar defensive performance. Candice Dupree averaged 20ppg last round against Seattle, against one of the all-time greats (Lauren Jackson). Tonight she scored 2. As S-n-P discussed in the game thread, the difference between Taj off the floor and Taj on the floor is the difference between Wolves-level defense and Celtics-level defense. The Mercury have the league's #1 offense, averaging 89 points a game in the regular season. Tonight they were held to 67. Most of that was Taj.
- 13-13 from Brunson isn't anything to overlook either. Her dominance on the glass continues 13rpg so far this postseason.
- Candice Wiggins did me proud tonight. Two days after questioning her rather shocking scoring dropoff, she comes out and puts in 14 off the bench. Candice seems to be one of those 'instinct' players. She trips up when she nitpicks (i.e. when she has to playcall as the point guard) but excels when she just goes.
Game 2 is going to be very, very interesting. If there's one thing we know for certain about Taurasi, it's that she's ultra-competitive. She'll be angry, and she'll look to take it out on the Lynx. I also expect the Mercury to float some serious mis-match rotations. They really messed up the Storm with some unconventional lineups, like putting Taurasi at point guard and fielding three 6'4" players in the frontcourt.
Sunday, 4pm. ESPN2. You will watch, or I'm throwing a tantrum in all capital letters. Seriously. I am this close to hitting caps lock.