Sport Five reasons why the 2017 WNBA Finals are not just another rematch

02:55  04 october  2017
02:55  04 october  2017 Source:   Yardbarker

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And — as the league seemed to be hurtling toward all season — the Lynx and Sparks are set for a rematch of the 2016 Finals . — WNBA (@ WNBA ) September 17, 2017 . In the Los Angeles-Phoenix series, Diana “Look, they’re defending champs for a reason ,” Taurasi told reporters after the game.

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On Wednesday evening, the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks will meet in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals for a second straight year, in a winner-takes-all game that will decide whether one of the most impressive sports dynasties in recent sports history will live on, or if a new one will take the throne.

The Sparks will try and do what they did last year, and take the title from the Lynx in front of a rowdy Minnesota crowd, effectively usurping the Lynx as the most dominant and formidable team in the WNBA. The Lynx, meanwhile, will be looking for revenge from last year, and for a fourth WNBA championship in the last six years.

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Los Angeles and Minnesota will meet again in the WNBA Finals . Last season was a series to remember, this year might be another series talked about for years. 2017 marks just the second time in league history that the Finals will be a rematch .

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If this great WNBA season has to end, the stage is set for the perfect finale.

Of course, in sports media these days, hyperbole is a way of life. But it would be tough to oversell just how great this Lynx vs. Sparks rivalry is, and how much is on the line Wednesday night for some of the biggest names in basketball.

Here are five reasons why this is not your average rematch.

These teams are excruciatingly close

You could give the Sparks the edge because they're defending champions, or the Lynx the edge because they're the veterans who will be playing at home. But in reality, these teams are just about as even as it gets – in their last 12 games, the Lynx and Sparks have scored exactly 908 points each. That's right – they're dead even points wise since the beginning of the 2016 season.

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"They get one person going and then another steps up and then another knocks down a crucial shot. So it's just tough when teams have that many Sparks, Lynx set for WNBA Finals rematch . Fowles grabs 17 boards, Lynx beat Sparks 70-68. TOP News. Librarian explains why she rejected books

Reeve, however, understands why Thursday’s 7 p.m. game against the Sparks at Xcel Energy Center is being billed as a rematch of last year’s WNBA The 2017 WNBA Finals are somewhat mirroring last year’s matchup between the Sparks and Lynx. The best-of- five series heads into Game 3 Friday

This Finals, they're only separated by one point: Lynx 298, Sparks 297. Every time one of these teams asks a question, the other finds an answer. Last year, the Sparks won the championship 77-76 on a last-second Nneka Ogwumike offensive rebound and layup. If history is any indication, we are in for a thriller.

Essence Carson of the Los Angeles Sparks drives to the basket to score against Maya Moore Renee Montgomery and Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx during the second half of Game 4 of WNBA Finals at Staples Center October 1, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. © Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Essence Carson of the Los Angeles Sparks drives to the basket to score against Maya Moore Renee Montgomery and Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx during the second half of Game 4 of WNBA Finals at Staples Center October 1, 2017, in Los Angeles, California.

This is a true coaching chess match

Simply put, Sparks coach Brian Agler and Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve are two of the best coaches in WNBA history, and it's been fun to watch them try and solve each other's puzzles this series. At times, Minnesota has gone with – and found success with – a small lineup against the Sparks, moving Maya Moore to the No. 4 spot in place of Rebekkah Brunson and bringing Renee Montgomery in as a guard. At times, Brunson has been the most aggressive, impactful player on both ends of the court.

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WNBA Finals – Los Angeles Sparks at Minnesota Lynx GAME 2 Date/Time: 09-26- 2017 , 20:00 EDT Spread: Minnesota Lynx -6 Total: +159. 5 In Game 2 of the 2017 WNBA Finals the top-seeded Minnesota Lynx (27-7) are hosting once again the

At times, Reeve has gone deep into her bench, and put players on the spot that don't see many minutes. Often, they've responded, like rookie Alexis Jones did in Game 4, going 1-for-1 for three points in limited minutes.

Agler has stuck with an eight-player rotation during each game, only playing Jantel Lavender, Essence Carson, and Riquna Williams off of the bench. But the minutes those three players have varied each game, based on the flow of the game. He's also shown an uncanny willingness to trust his starters, even when they are in foul trouble early, and it hasn't hurt him yet. It's going to be fun to see how each legendary coach manages their benches with the season on the line.

The star power is absolutely ridiculous

Inside, you have three of the best post players to ever play the game in Ogwumike, Parker, and Fowles. You have this year's Defensive Player of the Year Alana Beard taking on two-time MVP Maya Moore, and then All-Star point guard Chelsea Gray going against three-time Olympian Lindsay Whalen.

Everywhere you look on the court at any give time there are legends of the game, or at the very least legends-in-the-making. Sure, it's fun when a team clicks in the playoffs that is full of utility players and gritty competitors who just happen to be clicking at the right time. But it's also incredible to see literally the best players in the world facing off on the biggest stage with everything on the line. That alone should be reason enough to tune in.

WNBA Finals: MVP Sylvia Fowles leads Lynx to fourth championship

  WNBA Finals: MVP Sylvia Fowles leads Lynx to fourth championship The Lynx won the title with an 85-76 victory Wednesday as the WNBA Finals best-of-five series went the distance for the third straight year. The Lynx and Sparks had split their previous 12 games, but every Minnesota starter scored in double digits on Wednesday as Maya Moore led the way with 18 points. It's the fourth WNBA title over last seven years for the Lynx, who also won championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015.Sylvia Fowles, who was the WNBA Finals MVP in 2015, was named the 2017 Finals MVP after scoring 17 points with 20 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals in Wednesday's win.

In case you weren’t convinced that the finals rematch between the Minnesota Lynx and Los If you need proof, get yourself a seat to a WNBA game. Watching these women play isn’t just entertaining – it’s empowering. 5 reasons Justin Timberlake could be a perfect Super Bowl halftime choice.

Los Angeles and Minnesota will square off Sunday, September 24 in the first game of a best-of- five series in the 2017 WNBA Finals . Just look at what they did, I mean they found their identity on the glass, they were good during the regular season but they went another level at the end of the playoffs."

Williams Arena will bring out the best in both teams

With the Xcel Energy Center undergoing renovation, the Lynx have hosted all their playoff games at the Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota Campus, and the atmosphere has been electric. "The Barn," as its known, has an arched roof and a raised floor, which adds to its character. Plus, the roof is steel and the seats are right on top of the floor, so it is guaranteed to get very, very, very loud.

So far this Finals, while the games have been exciting, we haven't seen both teams play their best basketball for four full quarters. But in this special setting, hopefully that will change. Neither of these teams back down when it comes to pressure.

There is no telling who the hero is going to be

In Game 1, Gray sealed the win for the Sparks with a dagger in the final seconds. In Game 2, Brunson got to the clinching steal for the Lynx. These teams have an uncanny ability to find themselves in one-possession games with under one minute left, and they each have about eight players capable of making a championship-winning play.

It could be Essence Carson coming from the bench to force a steal and get the win for the Sparks; if the Lynx need a three to win, Montgomery will be on that floor, and she's as capable as anyone of hitting the championship-clinching dagger; maybe it will be Whalen, running the floor and hitting a dagger in transition as the clock goes out to get revenge for the Lynx in the gym where she played in college; or Odyssey Sims, who took the starting spot from Carson midseason, making an unexpected charge to the basket while the defense is focused in on Ogwumike and Parker.

And none of those possibilities even include the four MVPs on the floor, all of whom have proven time and time again that they are to be trusted with the game on the line. The best thing about sports is that you don't know what's going to happen until they play the game; the good news is, with these two teams, all options are enticing.

Murray, Soares into ATP Finals .
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