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WNBA playoff picture, standings, projections: Sky clinch a top-two seed; Sparks keep faint hopes alive

The 2022 WNBA regular season is winding down, however the playoff race is warming up. Up to now, five teams have punched their tickets to the playoffs — the Chicago Sky, NEVADA Aces, Connecticut Sun, Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics — as the Indiana Fever will be the only team to be eliminated.

Looking closer, there were no seeds locked in, and several exciting races remain. The very best three teams are in the search for the No. 1 seed; the Storm and Mystics are battling it out for fourth; and six teams from 6th-11th come in a genuine scrap for the ultimate three spots.

As a reminder, the WNBA has once more changed its playoff system. As the top eight teams will still make the playoffs, you can find forget about byes. Instead, every team will start play in the initial round with a typical bracket format that has the No. 1 seed vs. the No. 8 seed, the No. 2 seed vs. the No. 7 seed, the No. 3 seed vs. the No. 6 seed, and the No. 4 seed vs. the No. 5 seed. The bracket will never be re-seeded following the first round.

The first-round matchups will undoubtedly be best-of-three series, with the bigger seed doing offers 1 and 2 in the home, and the low seed hosting Game 3. The semifinals and finals will both be best-of-five series with a 2-2-1 format, this means the bigger seeds will host Games 1, 2 and 5, as the lower seeded team will host Games 3 and 4.

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Current standings

1. Chicago Sky (25-8) — Playoff spot clinched

2. NEVADA Aces (23-10) — Playoff spot clinched

3. Connecticut Sun (22-11) — Playoff spot clinched

4. Seattle Storm (20-13)— Playoff spot clinched

5. Washington Mystics (20-14)— Playoff spot clinched

6. Dallas Wings (16-16)

7. Atlanta Dream (14-18)

8. Phoenix Mercury (14-19)

9. NY Liberty (13-19)

10. Minnesota Lynx (13-20)

11. LA Sparks (13-20)

12. Indiana Fever (5-29) — Eliminated

Because the action continues down the stretch, here is a closer consider the playoff picture:

Race for the No. 1 seed

1. Chicago Sky (25-8) — Playoff spot clinched

  • Games remaining: 3 (vs. Storm, at Aces, at Mercury)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Aces: 1-1 in season series with one game remaining; vs. Sun: won season series 3-0
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. No. 8 Phoenix Mercury

The Sky nearly blew a 17-point result in sunlight but developed some big shots down the stretch to secure their second straight win, clinching at the very least a top-two seed. They still involve some work to accomplish to carry off the Aces, however, especially with both teams set to meet up in a few days in a casino game which will decide the tiebreaker between them.

2. NEVADA Aces (23-10) — Playoff spot clinched

  • Games remaining: 3 (vs. Dream, vs. Sky, vs. Storm)
  • Tiebreakers:vs. Sky: 1-1 in season series with one game remaining; vs. Sun: won season series 2-1
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. No. 7 Atlanta Dream

Following a surprise loss to the Wings, the Aces bounced back having an impressive road make an impression on the Storm in Sue Bird’s last regular season game in Seattle. A’ja Wilson led just how with 29 points because the Aces kept pace with the Sky in the search for the No. 1 seed, moving to 1 game prior to the Sun in the race for second place.

3. Connecticut Sun (22-11) — Playoff spot clinched

  • Games remaining: 3 (two at Sparks, vs. Lynx)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Sky: lost season series 0-4; vs. Aces: lost season series 1-2
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. 6 Dallas Wings

The Sun’s hot streak found a finish on Sunday afternoon with a heartbreaking loss to the Sky, dropping them to 0-4 contrary to the defending champs this year. With that loss, sunlight are officially from the race for the No. 1 seed. The very best they are able to do now could be second place, though even which will be challenging considering they don’t have the tiebreaker contrary to the Aces.

Two teams fighting for No. 4

4. Seattle Storm (20-13)

  • Games remaining: 3 (at Sky, at Lynx, at Aces)
  • Tiebreakers:vs. Mystics: won season series 2-1
  • Current first-round matchup:vs. No. 5 Washington Mystics

5. Washington Mystics (20-14)

  • Games remaining:2 (at Fever, vs. Fever)
  • Tiebreakers:vs. Storm: lost season series 1-2
  • Current first-round matchup:vs. No. 4 Seattle Storm

Among the tightest races at this time is in the center of the standings where in fact the Storm and Mystics ‘re going head-to-head for fourth place and home-court advantage in the initial round of the playoffs. Both teams were doing his thing on Sunday, and both suffered defeats — the Storm as a result of the Aces, and the Mystics in somewhat controversial fashion to the Sparks.

Those results have the Storm in the front by way of a half game in the standings with one game at hand. The Storm likewise have the tiebreaker between your two teams, that could function as difference maker come the finish of the standard season.

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Spots 6-8 shared

6. Dallas Wings (16-16)

  • Games remaining: 4 (two vs. Liberty, at Mercury, at Sparks)
  • Tiebreakers:vs. Mercury: 2-1 in season series with one game remaining; vs. Sparks: 1-2 in season series with one game remaining; vs. Dream: lost season series 1-2; vs. Liberty: 1-0 in season series with two games remaining; vs. Lynx: won season series 2-1
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. No. 3 Connecticut Sun

The Wings got down by 20 points to the lowly Fever on Saturday night, however they came completely back again to secure an overtime win. Now on a season-long four-game winning streak, the Wings are back again to .500 and also have a three-game lead on the ninth-place Liberty. They’re in excellent shape, but with two games left contrary to the Liberty they still involve some work to accomplish to secure an area.

7. Atlanta Dream (14-19)

  • Games remaining: 3 (at Aces, vs. Liberty, at Liberty)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: won season series 2-1; Sparks: won season series 2-1; vs. Wings: won season series 2-1; vs. Liberty: 1-1 in season series with two games remaining; vs. Lynx: lost season series 1-2
  • Current first-round matchup:vs. No. 2 NEVADA Aces

The shorthanded Dream fell to the Lynx on Sunday, losing the tiebreaker between your clubs along the way. They’re now clinging to seventh place with a tiebreaker on the Mercury, and their lead on the ninth-place Liberty is right down to half of a game with two matchups left between them. The Dream involve some real work to accomplish to secure a playoff spot.

8. Phoenix Mercury (14-19)

  • Games remaining:3 (vs. Lynx, vs. Wings, vs. Sky)
  • Tiebreakers:vs. Sparks: season series tied 2-2, currently own tiebreaker via better record against teams above .500; vs. Wings: 1-2 in season series with one game remaining; vs. Dream: lost season series 1-2; vs. Liberty: won season series 2-1; vs. Lynx: lost season series 0-3
  • Current first-round matchup:vs. No. 1 Chicago Sky

The Mercury finally returned home on Saturday, plus they got back on the right track with an enormous victory on the Liberty despite being without both Skylar Diggins-Smith (illness) and Diana Taurasi (quad). With this particular win, the Mercury took the growing season series with the Liberty and jumped them to go into eighth invest the standings.

9. NY Liberty (13-19)

  • Games remaining: 4 (two at Wings, at Dream, vs. Dream)
  • Tiebreakers:vs. Mercury: lost season series 1-2; vs. Sparks: won season series 2-1; vs. Wings: 0-1 in season series with two games remaining; vs. Dream: 1-1 in season series with two games remaining; vs. Lynx: lost season series 1-2
  • Current first-round matchup: N/A

Despite Sabrina’s Ionescu’s excellent play lately, the Liberty’s three-game winning streak found a finish in frustrating fashion on Saturday, because they shot 30.9 percent from the field and lost to a Mercury team that has been playing without Skylar Diggins-Smith and Diana Taurasi. With that result, they lost the tiebreaker to the Mercury and fell to ninth invest the standings.

10. Minnesota Lynx (13-20)

  • Games remaining: 3 (at Mercury, vs. Storm, at Sun)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: won season series 3-0; vs. Sparks: won season series 2-1; vs. Wings: lost season series 1-2; vs. Dream: won season series 2-1; vs. Liberty: won season series 2-1
  • Current first-round matchup: N/A

The Lynx desperately needed a win on Sunday, plus they got one because they took care of the Dream in Napheesa Collier’s go back to action. Minnesota is currently only 1 game behind both Phoenix (eighth) and Atlanta (seventh) and contains the tiebreaker over both of these teams. With three games remaining, including one contrary to the Mercury, the Lynx are right in this.

11. LA Sparks (13-20)

  • Games remaining: 3 (two vs. Sun, vs. Wings)
  • Tiebreakers: vs. Mercury: season series tied 2-2, currently losing tiebreaker via worse record against teams above .500; vs. Wings: 2-1 in season series with one game remaining; vs. Dream: lost season series 1-2; vs. Liberty: lost season series 1-2; vs. Lynx: lost season series 1-2
  • Current first-round matchup:vs. N/A

Because of a surprising, somewhat controversial make an impression on the Mystics on Sunday, the Sparks finally snapped their six-game losing streak and kept their faint playoff hopes alive. They’re only 1 game behind both Dream and Mercury for seventh and eighth, respectively, but don’t have the tiebreaker against either team. Plus, they still have two games left contrary to the third-place Sun.

Underneath of the playoff picture is something of chaos, with the five teams between seventh and 11th in the standings separated by simply one game. Each team has a minumum of one game left contrary to the other teams in this group, and just a couple of tiebreakers have already been settled. Which means these current standings will not stay exactly the same for long.

Eliminated

12. Indiana Fever (5-29)

The Fever have finally lost 16 straight games and were the initial team eliminated from the playoffs. With a sixth straight lottery appearance along the way, they’ll be longing for some luck with the table tennis balls to greatly help end the worst stretch in franchise history.

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