After a huge second-half comeback, Minnesota is now unbeaten against L.A. in playoff games, thanks to Tamika Williams’s last-minute steal and layup.


The lineup that played for the bulk of the Lynx’s second-half run — Harrower, Edwards, Smith, Sam, and Williams — seemed to work partly because the inside enforcers for L.A. were on the bench with foul trouble, but mainly because they finally found five players who weren’t afraid to body up, weren’t afraid to fight for rebounds, and weren’t afraid to take it to the hole. Basically, when you’re playing a team with as much talent as the Sparks, you can’t just run your plays correctly — you have to have players who can create, and with this lineup, they had five honest-to-god ballers on the floor, size mismatches or no.

Best play of the game: seeing Kristi Harrower throw a baseball pass all the way upcourt to be caught effortlessly by Teresa Edwards. This is a play that both women pull too often, and it usually infuriates me because both of them expect some kind of supernatural court sense from the other players when they throw those passes, and the other players just aren’t quite expecting it. But when you have two great point guards on the floor together, they make that kind of move look easy.

Any time Tamika Williams has the ball, expect good things to happen. It’s not just that she’s the only true low-post player the Lynx have, although she is (Michelle van Gorp is almost there, but needs to work on her turnaround jumper; Janelle Burse is a good blocker and has some good high-post moves, but is too tentative to be a true threat under the basket). Williams makes such good decisions with the ball, it’s a joy to watch her work. Her regular season shooting percentage was an unreasonably high 66%, and I’m willing to guess that most of the shots she missed drew fouls. She just doesn’t make bad decisions. Katie Smith may be the Lynx’s candidate for league MVP, but Tamika gets my vote for team MVP.

Oh, and don’t believe Lisa Leslie’s soundbites when she complains about the officiating. Some nights you can run an interior defense that’s based on getting away with lots of little hand-checks (and elbow-checks), and some nights the refs are going to call you on it. That’s just the way it goes.

Anyway, I’m going to start being optimistic now and predict Lynx in three, if they can stay confident and aggressive, and keep L.A. as rattled as they were tonight. It’s good to see fear and frustration in the other team’s eyes for a change.