Two relevant games left in the Western Conference, and two teams left battling for the third and fourth seeds. With the Storm’s win tonight over L.A., Minnesota was eliminated (as if losing a bunch of close games wasn’t bad enough, the Lynx had to see the team they needed to win lose a close game. If it weren’t for bad luck, Minnesota would have no luck at all).
There are four possible outcomes left – SAS win/MIN win; SAS win;/MIN loss; SAS loss/ MIN win; SAS loss/MIN loss. Three of these four scenarios would result in the Silver Stars claiming the third seed and the Sparks in fourth. The only combination of results that would allow L.A. to climb up to third would be a San Antonio loss AND a Minnesota win, which would create a three-way tie that would favor the Sparks over the Silver Stars.
The numbers say there’s an 8.7 percent chance of things playing out that way. If anything, that might overstate Los Angeles’ hopes for finishing third. San Antonio hosts Phoenix, which sat down Diana Taurasi and rested other starters on Friday against the Storm. (Oddly, if things play out as expected, both Western Conference playoff series will be rematches of the final regular-season games.) Meanwhile, the Lynx no longer have anything to play for, while host Indiana needs to win to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race (which I’m not even trying to figure out).
So, the odds are we’ll know tomorrow that the Storm is facing L.A. Of course, there’s a reason they’re called probabilities and not certainties. …