clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Fever vs. Mystics series preview: Key statistics, predictions, TV schedule

New, 1 comment

The Indiana Fever and Washington Mystics series will feature two of the league's best coaches and one of the best defensive players in the league against one of the best defensive units.

Tamika Catchings only played in one of the Fever's four games against the Mystics this season.
Tamika Catchings only played in one of the Fever's four games against the Mystics this season.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The #2 Indiana Fever and #3 Washington Mystics will kick off the 2014 WNBA Playoffs tonight at 7 p.m. EDT on ESPN2.

We've already gone in-depth about both teams, but what might decide the outcome of this series?

Key statistical battleground: Shooting efficiency

Albert pretty much summed up what this series comes down to in his breakdown of the Fever: "But if the Mystics have an above average shooting night and control their turnovers, that's going to give them the advantage in the series."

Both of these teams make up for below average shooting with three point shooting to boost their efficiency. They're both above average offensive rebounding teams. And while the Mystics are one of the best defenses in the league statistically, Tamika Catchings is more than capable of changing a game defensively.

So it really comes down to which team is able to get their shots and, more specifically, who's able to control the pace. Although these two teams played at the slowest pace in the Eastern Conference, it's decidedly less advantageous for the Mystics to play at a slow pace as it magnifies their turnover problems and negates their athleticism on the perimeter. The flip side: the Fever like to force turnovers and were third in the league in points off turnovers (16.47 point per game) while allowing the least fast break points per game (7.32); the Mystics commit turnovers at a high rate and were ninth in the league in points of turnovers allowed (16 per game).

So the Mystics are in a bit of a bind: if it turns into a half court 3-point shootout, that probably benefits the Fever as they can just spread the court with more three point threats. If it turns into a sloppy uptempo game, the Fever might be better positioned to capitalize on Mystics turnovers to boost their scoring efficiency. The Mystics need to push the pace and bring their athleticism to bear on the game, but also remained disciplined enough not to throw away possessions with turnovers.

X-Factor: Tamika Catchings

Though the season series was tied at 2-2, All-Star Tamika Catchings only played in one of those games. It stands to reason that this postseason series will be different than what occurred in the regular season. Perhaps the most interesting thing to watch will be how the Mystics guard Catchings and how having Catchings impacts the Mystics' inconsistent offense.

You assume she'll be guarding Emma Meesseman, who has certainly come into her own this season but will likely be challenged by trying to contend with a veteran defender like Catchings who should be able to keep up with her better than most post players in space and contain her in the high post.

Prediction: Fever def. Mystics

Name

Winner

Games

Albert

Indiana

3

James

Indiana

2

Kris H.

Indiana

3

Kris W.

Indiana

3

Nate

Indiana

3

Pat

Indiana

3

Ultimately, there wasn't a whole lot of disagreement on this one. Both teams need to hit threes to win - the Fever shot a league-low 51.6% from within five feet this season - but the Fever's ability to force turnovers against a turnover prone team to get easy buckets in transition.

Schedule/Broadcast info

Day

Date

Game

Away

Home

Time

National TV

Thursday

08/21/14

1

#3 Washington Mystics

#2 Indiana Fever

7 p.m.

ESPN2

Saturday

08/23/14

2

#2 Indiana Fever

#3 Washington Mystics

5 p.m.

ESPN2

Monday

08/25/14

3 *

#3 Washington Mystics

#2 Indiana Fever

TBD

NBA TV

For more on the series, check out our Fever-Mystics series storystream.