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Lynx drop third in a row, 86-66 to Atlanta

August 6, 2018

When the Lynx hopped a plane last week for a flight to Los Angeles, they were riding a three-game winning streak and were in third place in the ever-volatile WNBA.

As they walked off the Target Center court Sunday, having incurred their worst home loss of the season, having lost by 20 or more points for the second time in three games, they were seventh.

The Lynx lost 86-66 to a surging Atlanta Dream team that, having won 10 of 11 games, is 18-10 and solidly in second place in the league. The Lynx? At 15-13, they have lost three in a row to the leagues top three teams, a trio of games that gives coach Cheryl Reeve a pretty good idea of how her team stacks up.

Yeah, not very well, right? she said.

In a series of unfortunate events that has played out too many times this season, the Lynx started slowly. And while their defense improved as the game went on, once again late-game scoring couldnt be found. The Lynx scored under 70 points for the sixth time this season (they are 0-6 in those games) and managed only 32 second-half points.

If Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles dont play like our teams best players Reeve began, echoing a season-long theme. If we dont have our best players playing at their best, it is a big-time challenge.

Sunday, it was a five-minute stretch to end the first half that cost the Lynx. Fowles scored on a put-back to tie the score at 33. For the rest of the half, Atlanta outscored the Lynx 16-1, hitting all six shots, four of them three-pointers, to take a 15-point lead.

The Lynx never recovered.

Atlanta, the leagues worst team in three-point shooting percentage entering the game, made 12 of 30 three-pointers, with Tiffany Hayes a player many thought should have been here for the All-Star Game a weekend earlier hitting six of 11 for 18 of her 28 points. Alex Bentley scored 19 off the bench and Angel McCoughtry had 11.

Fowles had 17 points and 10 rebounds, but three turnovers. Moore scored 15 points, but took 13 shots. Seimone Augustus had 15 points, too.

Sylvia is affected by stuff around her, Reeve said. Way too affected when somethings not going well. So youre up and down with her through the course of the game.

And while Moore and Fowles will always be the Lynxs key players, against the Dream they got little help. Lynx point guards had six points total. Rebekkah Brunson left the game after getting hit in the nose when she was elbowed by Hayes in the second quarter it might be broken; further tests are coming and never returned.

Its not good, Reeve said of her power forward.

The Lynx are just a game ahead of eighth-place Dallas, which holds the last playoff spot, and 2andfrac12; games ahead of ninth-place Las Vegas. The Lynx visit Vegas on Thursday.

With only six games left, time is running out to figure this out. We get to the point where we cant score, Reeve said. We go into the fourth and we cant score, cant capitalize on some of our better defensive play. And the final score looks bad.

The Lynx will try to avoid their second four-game losing streak of the season in Chicago on Tuesday.

There isnt much to talk about except win, Fowles said. Just go out and play. Were tired of saying it. Coach is tired of saying it. Just play. Win the next game. Thats it.

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