The Dream are one loss away from being swept by Minnesota in the WNBA finals.
The good news is the team has been in this situation before, in 2010 and ’11.
The bad news is they didn’t win either game, making three appearances in the best-of-five championship round without posting a win.
After losing each game in this series by 25 points, things don’t look promising as the two teams prepare to meet at Gwinnett Arena on Thursday in what could be the deciding game. But the Dream’s Angel McCoughtry isn’t worried, pointing out that the team played well at home this season (13-4 during the regular season), even if Thursday’s home is almost 30 miles away from where the team usually plays at Philips Arena.
“Atlanta is Atlanta, so home is home,” she said. “It doesn’t matter which gym we are in as long as we are in Georgia.”
Anywhere other than Minnesota would seem to be better at this point.
The Dream haven’t been competitive in either game in the finals. By halftime, the Dream trailed by 19 in the first game and 15 in the second game.
Nothing is going well.
They have been outrebounded by at least 18 in both games, which has contributed to Minnesota scoring 14 more points than Atlanta in the free-throw lane.
They have been outdefended, failing to shoot better than 35.8 percent. McCoughtry, who led the league in scoring during the regular season (21.5 points per game), has averaged 16 points and missed 31 of her 42 field-goal attempts.
And they have failed to defend. The Lynx set a WNBA finals record by making 56.9 percent of their field goals in Game 2. Five Minnesota players scored at least 11 points in the second game.
“They are shooting really well, and we haven’t shot the ball well,” McCoughtry said.
Dream coach Fred Williams said the games have been physical and that some of the calls his team is used to getting on drives to the basket weren’t called in Minnesota. McCoughtry, who led the league in free-throw attempts during the regular season (an average of 7.2 per game), has only 11 in the first two games.
“It’s been a tough series, a battle, very physical,” she said.
As a result, not only were the Dream not getting points, but the Lynx were grabbing the easy rebounds and then breaking down the court for easy baskets.
Williams said his team needs to either get the calls or convert those baskets, or pull up for mid-range jumpers, which he said is something Minnesota, with all of its shooters, is doing very well.
The Dream also need to rebound better. Doing so on both ends will stop Minnesota from getting those high-percentage opportunities.
Williams and McCoughtry said the team’s spirits are still high. He hasn’t seen any poor body language, and McCoughtry said no one has given up in either game.
“Whether you win a championship or don’t win a championship, they are giving it their all, and that’s all you can ask for,” McCoughtry said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here. I believe our time is here and coming, and there will be many, more times.”
Who: Dream vs. Minnesota Lynx
Series: Minnesota leads best-of-five series 2-0
Where: Gwinnett Arena
Time: 8:30 p.m.