- Date & Location: Tuesday, September 28 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Odds: Phoenix Mercury (+205) vs. Las Vegas Aces (-245) via BetOnline.
- Prediction: Las Vegas Aces victory
The semifinal round of the 2021 WNBA playoffs begins tonight with the No. 6 seeded Chicago Sky facing the No. 1 seed Connecticut Sun and the No. 5 seeded Phoenix Mercury meeting the No. 2 seed Las Vegas Aces. Phoenix moved on to its match-up against the Aces by dispatching the defending champion Seattle Storm in a single-elimination game by the score of 85-80 in overtime.
Phoenix finished the 2021 WNBA season with a record of 19-13. Las Vegas wrapped up its season with a 24-8 record.
The Mercury fell to the Minnesota Lynx in the second round of the 2020 playoffs. The Aces made it to the final but were swept by Seattle in three games. Phoenix has three WNBA championships to its name (2007, 2009, and 2014), while Las Vegas has yet to claim an overall championship after making the final in 2008 and 2020.
Tonight’s game takes place at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
PREVIOUS 2021 MEETINGS
These two teams faced each other three times in 2021. The first game took place early in the season in May. Las Vegas won that matchup 85-79. In July, it was Phoenix who got the victory by a score of 99-90. Then, on September 19, which was the last day of the 2021 WNBA regular season, it was Las Vegas who edged out an 84-83 triumph.
Prediction: Las Vegas Aces -245 via SportsBetting.
Vegas knows what it takes to get to the final, having done so last year. The loss in three games will stick with them. I suspect the Aces will play a smothering defensive game and do all they can to limit Brittney Griner. If the team has success there, they will defeat Phoenix..
This first game of the series will set the tone. If Griner can carry Phoenix to a victory, there’s a good chance the Mercury will pull an upset in the series.
However, I think Las Vegas wins game one and the series.
Pick: Las Vegas Aces -255 via GTBets.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brittney Griner is the key to the Mercury winning. In the playoff games against the Storm, Griner put up 23 points, nabbed 16 rebounds, added four assists, and had two blocks. If Las Vegas wants to move on, the team is going to need to do its best to limit Griner’s offense. Diana Taurasi, who had not played since earlier in September because of an ankle injury contributed 14 points, five of which came in overtime, to the win over the Storm. Taurasi might not be at 100 percent, but she is always dangerous.
The Aces are a better all-around team and they play a solid team game. Las Vegas was the second-best defensive team in the league and averaged a league-best 89.3 points per game without having a player in the top five in points per game in the league.
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