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WNBA playoff picture: Chaos reigns, but Lynx sit in driver’s seat

All eyes are on the WNBA playoffs. (Kate Frese/NBAE via Getty Images)

The WNBA playoffs are just around the corner, but chaos continues to reign over the standings.

Four of the five teams vying for the two remaining postseason berths are tied at 14-20 heading into the final stretch. Every team in the league has two games remaining in the regular season.

The Minnesota Lynx, Atlanta Dream, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury all have the same record, and the Los Angeles Sparks sit a game behind at 13-21. Each team still has a chance at one of the last two playoff spots.

The Lynx have a leg up on the competition. Minnesota has gone 4-1 through its last five games and holds tiebreakers over the other four teams.

The Lynx are in line for the No. 7 seed right now, and if they win out, they will make the playoffs. That would be the simplest path. But their final two games come against two of the league’s top teams in the Seattle Storm and Connecticut Sun.

If the Lynx go 1-1, they still would make the playoffs – unless the Mercury win out, and the Liberty or Dream win out, in which case the Mercury and the Liberty or Dream would squeak into the postseason. (The Liberty and Dream play their final two games against each other.)

If the Lynx lose their final two games, they could still make the playoffs, but they would need Phoenix to lose out, Los Angeles to lose one of its final two games, and either New York or Atlanta to win out.

So, not so simple.

The Mercury close the season with the Dallas Wings on Friday and the Chicago Sky on Sunday, but they have been without team leader Skylar Diggins-Smith for the past two games.

Diggins-Smith was listed as out for personal reasons in Wednesday’s 86-77 loss to the Lynx, and her status remains uncertain for the last two games of the regular season.

Phoenix held the lead heading into the fourth quarter against Minnesota before Sylvia Fowles and Aerial Powers dropped 17 points combined to take the win and to take control in the playoff chase.

“I understand that’s what the standings say,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said of her team’s playoff position. “But this changes by the day. We’re not too locked in on that. We wanted to come down and win this game, because that’s what we had to do.”

Phoenix holds the tiebreaker over New York, but Atlanta holds the tiebreaker over Phoenix. Phoenix, Atlanta and New York all hold tiebreakers over Los Angeles.

The Sparks need to win their final two games and need every team but Atlanta or New York to lose out to sneak into the playoffs.