Once again, Las Vegas and New York face off. The two played each other on Tuesday night for the Commissioner’s Cup Championship, which the Liberty won-handedly.
The rematch will occur on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime Video, with Las Vegas hosting again.
With 75 percent of the season done, the two top teams are clear—it’s New York and Las Vegas. They not only have the two best records, but also rank first and second in points per game, assists per game, 3-point percentage and offensive rating, to name a few categories that statistically capture their dominance.
The regular season matchup is even at 1-1, with each team blowing out the other. With the Liberty winning the Commissioner’s Cup over the Aces, they bring a extra blowout, as well as a trophy and bragging rights, to this third regular-season and fourth overall matchup. Another win for the Liberty will guarantee at least a tie in the season series; for Las Vegas, a win will serve as a measure of revenge for the past two games and keep them on pace for the greatest winning percentage in WNBA history.
Keys to victory
Despite the “super team” moniker, everything for the Aces starts and ends with A’ja Wilson. The MVP has struggled in the last two losses against New York, scoring just nine points in each matchup, a number woefully below her season average of 21.2 points per game. They need more from Wilson, especially with Candace Parker unlikely to return.
3-point shooting also has to improve for Las Vegas. They went 5-for-26 from deep in the Commissioner’s Cup Championship and 6-for-23 in the last regular season matchup against the Liberty. With New York shooting lights out, another poor performance from 3-point range on Thursday will lead to the same result—a loss.
New York just needs to repeat what they’ve been doing: shooting well from 3, getting big performances from their stars and having their bench outscore the Aces’ reserves. It’s easier said than done, but they’ve been successful so far. Can they pull off a third win in a row? We’ll find out soon enough.
Las Vegas Aces (27-3) vs. New York Liberty (24-6)
When: Thursday, Aug. 17 at 10 p.m. ET
Where: Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
How to watch: Prime Video
Aces injury report: Candace Parker (out; foot) Riquna Williams (out indefinitely; suspension)
Liberty injury report: Han Xu (questionable; foot)