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Keys To Game 2: Minnesota Lynx vs. Washington Mystics

The Minnesota Lynx defeated the Washington Mystics in Game 1 of their 2017 WNBA Playoffs Semifinal matchup 101-81. With Game 2 already upon us tomorrow with an 8 PM ET tip from Minnesota (Broadcast: ESPN 2) here are three keys to watch for:

1) Efficiency

One of the biggest storylines from Game 1 was the scoring output from the Lynx in the third quarter. The Lynx got red-hot to down 13 consecutive field goals made, breaking the previous mark of 11 set by the Los Angeles Sparks in the 2001 Western Conference Finals.

When it was all said and done, the Lynx finished the evening with a 59.4% FG from the floor. In fact, all five Lynx players that attempted five or more field goals converted no less than 60% of them.

On the other side, Washington finished the night with a 44.6% clip from the field, and had six players finish the night with a field goal percentage below 47%. The results showed on the scoreboard as well, as Minnesota led by as much as 29. Based on how these two sides performed in Game 1, efficiency is definitely something to watch for on Thursday.

2) Three-Point Shooting

In that very same third quarter for Minnesota, the Lynx drained all seven of their three-point attempts in the quarter (which capped off a total of nine straight threes starting in the second quarter).

The Lynx established a WNBA Playoffs record in Game 1, converting 70.6% (12-of-17) of their shots from three-point range – the highest conversion rate of any team (minimum 10 three-pointers made).

The Mystics weren’t too far behind on three-pointers made, making nine of their own on 9-of-21, for 42.9% from the field. Washington lived by the three in their Round 2 matchup against the New York Liberty this past Sunday, but it took them 34 attempts to make 11 threes in that game and are only shooting a total of 35.6% as a team from downtown for the playoffs.

With both teams launching from outside in Game 1, Game 2 will be decided by who has the highest percentage shots from deep.

3) Supporting Cast

The Lynx and Mystics have established brand names and MVP candidates on their squads such as Maya Moore, Sylvia Fowles and Elena Delle Donne, but as any hoops fan knows, basketball is a team game.

Even with the return of Lynx veteran point guard Lindsay Whalen back from injury, Renee Montgomery played a strong role in the victory, scoring 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with a game-high four three-pointers made. Seimone Augustus also showed up in a big way, scoring a game-high 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting. Moore and Fowles chipped in 32 points combined, proving that the Lynx play team basketball and everyone plays a vital role.

Delle Donne scored a team-high 17 points, but the rest of the Mystics struggled. Krystal Thomas had a 17-rebound performance in the first round against Dallas, but only hauled in four rebounds Tuesday. Kristi Toliver, who set a WNBA Playoff record with nine three-pointers made against the Liberty, only attempted two threes and went 1-for-7 overall on the evening. Emma Meesseman finished her night with a -25 plus/minus rating.

The objective for Game 2 is clear for both sides. For Minnesota, it’s to keep doing what they are doing. For Washington, it’s to play team basketball and get back into the form they displayed in the first two rounds of the playoffs.