Minnesota Lynx vs Los Angeles Sparks – Game 5 Preview

The last game of the season in the WNBA goes on Thursday night from Minnesota.

The 2016 WNBA Finals will wrap up on Thursday night as the Los Angeles Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx prepare for an 8pm ET start (ESPN2). The Sparks squandered what was an amazing chance to close the series out in four on their home court. Now they are charged with winning another game in Minnesota’s building following the Game 1 buzzer-beating shocker that saw Los Angeles open the series with a win.

Heading into Game 5 there has been a little bit of a controversy from the closing seconds of Game 4. The WNBA released an official statement on Monday regarding an alleged backcourt violation against Minnesota.

With less than 20 seconds to go the Lynx appeared to have taken too long to cross the timeline. If possession had changed then the Sparks would have had the ball down by 2 and with plenty of time left. They could have won the game with a three pointer or at least tied the score with a two.

The WNBA’s statement on the matter seems to acknowledge that the Sparks didn’t get a fair shake on the play. According to Renee Brown, the Chief of Basketball Operations:

“After reviewing postgame video, we have determined that with 0:17.7 remaining in regulation time, Minnesota released the ball for a pass from the backcourt and the ball was still in the backcourt when the shot clock turned to 0:16. An 8-second violation should have been called on Minnesota. This play is not a trigger to review via instant replay.”

When it comes to officiating mistakes, the play has to be put into the human-error category. The play was dealing with an in-flight ball and a split second as it traveled over the timeline. It would take a special official to see the violation on the play as it appeared to deal with only the smallest amount of time.

With the Thursday-night start time for Game 5 both teams will enter the deciding game of the 2016 WNBA Finals well rested. That doesn’t favor either team in my view, however it should make the game an entertaining one as these players play in the game of their lives.

I think that Maya Moore is the player to watch in Game 5 as she was the one with the strong nerves on Sunday. She definitely seems to be welcoming the opportunity to close out the series in front of supportive home fans. Following the Sunday game her verified Twitter account tweeted “Grateful to be heading back to Minny with this awesome team! Can’t wait to see Lynx Nation at the Target Center on Thursday.”

Game 5 of the WNBA Finals is the pinnacle event of women’s club-level basketball. Accordingly this is one that is not to be missed by fans of the sport with ESPN2 covering the game.

Shane Lambert