Mercury Meter: Yes, We Are Talking About Playoffs!

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Only four teams make it and the Phoenix Mercury are one of them for the eighth time in seventeen seasons, The team had lofty expectations coming into the season and, for them, the real season now begins.

Record: 17-13 (7-2)

Place In Standings: Third (+2.5 on Seattle)

Points Per Game: 80.8 (78.2)

Points Against: 81.1 (72.7)

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The Phoenix Mercury have quietly gelled together and built themselves up as a legitimate team. For most of the season they were a cast of individuals trying to figure things out, but until the past 6-8 games they did not get it.

Now the Mercury are in the playoffs after knocking off the San Antonio Silver Stars and they have four more games to continue the momentum. After missing the playoffs last year due to a combination of injuries and poor circumstances they are back in the mix. This season's struggles have been well documented, but there is something to how the team has weathered the storm and continued to move forward.

It is more common for a team (or an individual) to fold up the tent and go home when things get tough. This season things have been tough.

After being home for the past 18 days playing a few victorious home games they hit the road for four of the final five games. It is another challenge and one where the team can take with a nonchalant attitude if they wanted to, but again, it is another challenge for a team that has taken them on head first all season. For a team dubbed as a "Super Team" or an "All-Star Team" at the start of the season the Mercury are starting to come around full circle to that initial adulation.

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Finding A Dynamic Duo...

All season the Mercury have been looking for the right combination of Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. Or Diana Taurasi and DeWanna Bonner. It has been a struggle from the beginning all the way till recently, with a few changes, and the team has been able to find a system that works for them, although it is not as simple as a dynamic duo.

Over the past three games the Mercury have found a rhythm with a quartet.

Taurasi is no doubt the star. She is the fifth leading scorer of all time and on a per game level is the second best scorer of all-time. Over the past three games she has scored 17.3 points per game and paced the offense with being the go-to scorer and the teams main (only) facilitator. Along with that production Bonner (13.3 PPG), Griner (13 PPG), and Dupree (18.3 PPG) have been what the team was missing early in the season.

No body is worried about stepping on toes or hurting feelings. Taurasi stirs the drink, but it is a much more complex cocktail than a few months ago. The different flavors and combination's have made this a more diverse and complex team. They are not a one trick pony with a bevy of talented, but timid stars.

They are becoming a team at the right time building momentum, finding themselves, and gearing up for the real season.

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...and a Playoff Update.

Minnesota Lynx: 24-7 Clinched (three games remaining)

Los Angeles Sparks: 22-10 Clinched (two games remaining)

Phoenix Mercury: 17-13 Clinched (four games remaining)

Seattle Storm: 15-16 Clinched (three games remaining)

The Mercury still have some work to do for the third seed to be all theirs, but right now they are playing well, in a rhythm, and have won eight of their last eleven games. Since bringing Russ Pennell on board the team is playing a better brand of defense and are still trying to find themselves on the offensive end.

If the playoffs started today then the Mercury would head to Los Angeles to start things off. There is one more match-up against the Sparks, but thus far this season they are the only playoff team they have a winning record against.

In three games against the Sparks the Mercury are 2-1 with 18 made threes and two of their more impressive performances this season. The margin of victory was a dead heat as the Mercury won two games by a combined 22 points and lost one game by 22 points. This is surprisingly the most ideal match-up for the Mercury in the playoffs despite how great the Sparks can be. The season ends where the playoffs will begin in a preview, a tune-up, and an opportunity for the Mercury to strike some fear into their playoff counterparts.

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Upcoming Schedule:

Tuesday @ New York Liberty at 4 p.m. AZ Time

Wednesday @ Chicago Sky at 5 p.m. AZ Time

Friday vs. San Antonio Silver Stars at 7 p.m. AZ Time

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