There are so many ways to approach what happened at Williams Arena on Wednesday night, when the Lynx led throughout and then survived some final-minute craziness to beat Los Angeles for the WNBA title.
Here's some of what was being said after the game:
Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated suggested the Lynx established themselves as the least appreciated sports dynasty ever by winning Game 5: "Most notably the Finals win gave basketball fans another glimpse at arguably the least appreciated dynasty in sports. If an NBA team had reached the Finals six times over a seven-year stretch, placed four of its members on the U.S. Olympic team, and had a playoff winning percentage over .700 since 2011, such a squad would be celebrated from Boston to Boise and ESPN and Turner Sports would be politicking to air as many games nationally as they could. Alas, that is not the case for the Lynx given the low profile of the WNBA. 'It's a microcosm of society and where we place women's sports,' Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve told me in 2016. 'This group deserves to be celebrated for its sustained excellence.'"
Matt Ellentuck at SB Nation wrote that it's almost like the Lynx-Sparks games have been staged: "The Minnesota Lynx held a 10-point lead over the Los Angeles Sparks in the last minute and 30 seconds of a decisive WNBA Finals game and ... OF COURSE THIS ONE WASN’T OVER, HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED THESE TEAMS PLAY?!? Chaos. Pure chaos. AGAIN! These teams torture their fans until the bitter end of every single game, every time they face off. This Game 5 was no different, and frankly, it wouldn’t have felt right if LA went gentle into that good night. Why start now?"
Carron J. Phillips of the New York Daily News approached the dynasty angle this way: "Wednesday night's win was the fourth title in the last seven seasons for the Lynx. And in the three seasons they didn't win it all, they lost in the Finals twice.They are the definition of a dynasty. The Finals matchup also put two of the most socially conscious teams on the league's biggest stage. ... The curious thing about the social consciousness that's been shown by the Sparks, Lynx, and even the Indiana Fever in the last two seasons, is if it will trickle down to the college level."
On the Swish Appeal blog, Ashley Bastock wrote about how the triumph of 2017 exorcised the demons of Minnesota's Game 5 defeat last year: "Everything that the Lynx did in the 2017 season, (including finishing with the best regular-season record in the league) they did chasing the demons from last October. In this year’s Game 5, the effort from Minnesota’s veteran-heavy core was unparalleled. All of Minnesota’s starters finished in double-digits for points, while both Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles ended the evening with double-doubles. Fowles, the 2017 Finals MVP, had 17 points and a Finals record 20 rebounds (a record that she herself set at 17 earlier in the series), while Moore had a team-high 18 points and 10 boards. ... It was clear that one of the demons that continued to haunt the Lynx concerning Game 5 of the 2016 WNBA Finals was missed rebounds down the stretch that turned the tide of the game. On Wednesday night, the Lynx absolutely destroyed the Sparks on the boards, outrebounding them, 46-29; in fact, the duo of Fowles and Moore outrebounded L.A. on their own."
Bridget Case of Swish Appeal also wrote about the connection between 2016 and 2017: "It was clear Fowles and Moore wouldn’t leave this year’s court without a trophy in hand. As veterans, they know this game, they’ve been here before. There was no other option. However, like the fiery, feisty bunch they were, it was something they had to tear out of the Sparks’ clenching fingertips. Candace Parker would eventually let go, but not without the blood, sweat and tears they put in to defend their title. 'It was exciting,' mourned Parker. 'That's all I've got. I think it was a good series.' " The champions didn’t win in the graceful, blowout fashion like the Golden State Warriors. No - a victory was awarded to the team that outlasted the clock with the most power, the most grit, and the most will to fight.
Also on the web:
There's no telling how good Sylvia Fowles can become. (SB Nation)
More on the signature rivalry of the WNBA (Sports on Earth)
A tribute to Los Angeles star Candace Parker. (SB Nation)
And after reaching this point, you want to watch the trophy ceremony again, right? Here it is.