The Minnesota Lynx put their undefeated (3-0) record on the line when they visit Phoenix this afternoon to take on the defending champion Mercury. Of course the Mercury (1-2) are not the same team they were last year without Diana Taurasi (year off) or Brittney Griner (suspension), but should ultimately still be in the mix for the Western Conference playoffs come the end of the year.
The Lynx are, as usual, tops in the league in scoring despite Maya Moore's slow start (39% from the field). Rebekkah Brunson is back healthy and playing dominant basketball, averaging 14 and 12 and leafing the league in RPG and FG%. Lindsay Whalen leads the league in assists. They also finally got a break out game from their bench in their last outing against Seattle, and that is going to be key for them going forward; getting production from the reserves is something they have struggled with and is vitally important to their ultimate success.
The game is on ESPN2 at 2:00 pm CDT as part of a WNBA double header starting at noon with the Chicago Sky at the Indiana Fever.
Of course the big one is this evening when the Cavs are at the Warriors for game five of the NBA Finals. We'll have a game thread for that one, but it tips after 7:00 pm CDT on ABC. The Warriors of course turned things around in game four after struggling through the first three games and got the series even by using a small lineup. They essentially capitulated on the boards, where Cleveland had been dominating anyway, in order get more offense on the floor and have Andre Iguodala on LeBron James from the start. It worked as they finally made some threes (12-30), though they were still unable to get the pace up to where they want it. Still, 2-2 and at home tonight should have the Warriors feeling pretty good.
Here are the current odds on who the first pick in the draft will be:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="de" dir="ltr">NBA Draft 1st Pick Karl-Anthony Towns -1000 Jahlil Okafor +400 D Angelo Russell +1500 Kristaps Porzingis +1500 <a href="http://t.co/pz6S1xPUe2">http://t.co/pz6S1xPUe2</a></p>— Sportsbook.com ® (@Sportsbook_com) <a href="https://twitter.com/Sportsbook_com/status/609866922419724290">June 13, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Jahlil Okafor is due in town Tuesday and Wednesday, I believe, with Mudiay and Russell to follow. Presumably Towns, who Flip saw in L.A., will be in as well. Glen Taylor likes to meet the guys they might draft, because handshake, look in the eye, what's in their hearts I guess. (I suppose if I were about to hand out a multi-million dollar contract I would want to meet the guys too).
In soccer news, the U.S. U20s lost in the World Cup quarterfinals in New Zealand in penalty kicks to Serbia following a 0-0 draw. It was rough, but overall a good showing for the U20s, who feature some significant talent that hopefully will make an impact on the senior national team before too long.
The USWNT drew with Sweden on Friday and still top their group with four points, with a game against Nigeria still to come on Tuesday. A win sends them through as group winners, any other result makes things tricky. The WWC has been fun so far, though the turf is a bit of a downer. What's great is that even with the increase to 24 teams, the increasing parity is clear to see. Only two teams are on six points after two games (Japan, Brazil), and they've both had tough games. Only Cote d'Ivoire and Ecuador have been unable to compete (-11 and -15 differentials); none of the other teams have a goal differential worse than -2. The tournament takes a day off today before resuming on Monday.
Finally, in exceedingly rare baseball news, the Twins have called up top prospect Byron Buxton from AA; he's scheduled to debut this afternoon in Texas against the Rangers. He's been one of the top prospects in baseball for the last couple of seasons, and after missing most of last year with injuries, has picked up where he left off this season. At 21 years old with no experience above AA, it's a bit of a departure for the Twins to call someone up so early, but he's an exciting player the fans have been waiting to see. Go read SBN's TwinkieTown for more.
Have a good Sunday.