With the Phoenix Mercury's 86-68 loss to the San Antonio Silver Stars last night, the Seattle Storm moved back into a tie for second place as described by Seth Pollack of SB Nation Arizona.
The Phoenix Mercury failed to clinch a playoff berth and they dropped the season series to the San Antonio Silver Stars with their loss Thursday night on the road. The team was once again without Penny Taylor who's sat out the last two games. With the loss, the Mercury are tied with Seattle for second place in the Western Conference.
However, Kevin Pelton of StormBasketball.com suggests both an upside and a downside to last night's events.
In the West, San Antonio’s win helped and hurt the Storm. The upside is that the Storm is now much more likely to finish in second place in the conference. The downside is that there’s now a realistic chance the Storm finishes fourth and has to play Minnesota in the opening round. Phoenix has a higher chance of being fourth because the Silver Stars earned the tiebreaker against the Mercury, while the Storm would win a tie with San Antonio (as well as, by about any scenario I can envision, a three-team tie).
Although that is true, the Storm do have a relatively favorable schedule ahead of them with a game against the 3-26 Shock tonight and then a game against the Mercury - who haven't won in KeyArena in nearly two years - and the 14-16 Chicago Sky who are 4-10 on the road this season.
While Pelton also describes just how unlikely it is for the Storm to fall into fourth, the lingering possibility also means that the Storm have plenty left to play for with only four games left. The Storm can clinch their playoff berth tonight with a win against the Tulsa Shock tonight or a Los Angeles Sparks loss to the Phoenix Mercury.
For more, be sure to check out Pelton's blog at StormBasketball.com.