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Powers helps Lynx avoid fourth-quarter collapse

The Minnesota Lynx continue to battle for their playoff lives.

Minnesota Lynx v Atlanta Dream Photo by Chamberlain Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

The Minnesota Lynx are still two games back of the eighth and final playoff spot. They’re going to need some help to get into the postseason, but at least they won a must-win game Thursday night, 92-85 over the Dream in Atlanta.

“Coach was talking to us today, you know, shootaround, like, ‘This is the game that we need to win.’ Of all of them, this is the one,” said Aerial Powers, who score a game-high 25 points. “Like, of course the next ones we need to win and, you know, we lost two to Connecticut unfortunately, but she’s like, ‘This is the one we need to win.’

“Right now, I'm not even looking at the standings. I’m just playing each game like it’s our last and that we need a W. Because I don’t want to look too far in the future. I think if we do our job and get the wins that we need to get it’ll all pan out.”

The Lynx led by as much as 23, but surrendered 40 points in the fourth quarter. Atlanta went on a 22-6 run to cut its deficit to six with 5:35 to play. Near the end of that run, Tiffany Hayes (24 points) made a three that cut it to seven and 17 seconds later she made the free throw that cut it to six. Over the next 1:32, Powers answered with a 7-0 individual run consisting of a mid-range make, a three and a floater. Minnesota was able to hold on after that.

“They were gaining a lot of momentum in the fourth and then we were in foul trouble where every time we touched them, every time we fouled them they were going to the line,” Powers said. “So that’s awful, you never want to be in foul trouble that early. I think we were in foul trouble like seven, six minutes left. That's a lot of time. Then Hayes hit a 3-pointer in the corner and kinda stared at me. And then I kinda felt like, ‘Ok, hold on. I don't know who she think she is.’ And then I just kinda went off. ... Definitely when Tiff hit that three and looked at me, I kinda felt some type of way.”

The Dream ended up taking 29 free throws and making 26. But they weren’t able to overcome the Lynx’s 55.6 percent shooting from the field and 8-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc. In addition, Minnesota won the battle on the boards 38-30.

The Lynx visit the Los Angeles Sparks next on Sunday.