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'Run it back' means nothing if Mystics don't win a championship, and they know that

'Run it back' means nothing if Mystics don't win a championship, and they know that

September 12, 2018.

If you’re unaware of the significance of this date, utter it to 75 percent of the Washington Mystics current roster and beware of the glower that is sure to return.

Three hundred and fifty days ago the Seattle Storm traveled to EagleBank Arena and claimed their third WNBA Championship in franchise history after sweeping the Mystics in three games. Breanna Stewart had a series-high 30 points, Sue Bird dished out 10 assists, and the Stics exited the arena without a single victory to show for their first-ever finals appearance.

Fast forward to May 5, 2019.

Head coach Mike Thibault gathers the players, coaches and the team’s business staff together for a Cinco de Mayo-themed meal. Smiles, laughter, and fellowship ensues, until coach Thibault puts a video up on the screen.

The room decrescendos to a mute as the Seattle Storm’s 2018 championship celebration glows off the faces of everyone in attendance. The culmination of how the Mystics season abruptly ended and the gut-wrenching agony of having to watch Seattle celebrate on their home floor for a second time, birthed their 2019 team slogan.

“Run it back.”

With the playoffs tipping off September 11th, we’re now on the cusp of where that motto is officially put to the test.

Leading up to postseason play, the Washington Mystics have been by far the best team in basketball. They currently hold the best record in the league at 22-12, while also leading the association in just about every major statistical category: points per game (88.8), assists per game (21.8), field goal percentage (46.8), three-pointers made (277) and free-throw percentage (87.2).

To be frank, they’re bulldozing teams night-in and night-out. They’re sitting at a plus-11.4 differential which is not just a league-best, but currently, the third-best ever, with the highest since the Houston Comets completed their four-peat in 2000. No other team in the WNBA right now has differential higher than plus-4.0. And after defeating the western conference-leading Los Angeles Sparks Tuesday night, by 29, they sit at 13 20+ point victories this season - no team in history has had more than 9.

Oh, did I mention the Mystics have continued to dominate the WNBA without their starting star shooting guard, Kristi Toliver, for the last month? It must’ve slipped my mind because their on-court production hasn’t skipped a single beat.

But this is the playoffs and anything can happen. History shows that the team with the WNBA's best record has won the championship just 13 times in the league's 23 seasons.

So who may be in the Stics’ path to capturing a storybook ending?

Connecticut Sun (21-9)

Like the Mystics, the Sun have been a constant force in the association all year long. They’ve won seven of their last 10 games and pose the biggest threat to Washington not just in playoff competition, but seeding. The Mystics have put an extra emphasis on winning out because the Sun sit only one game back from the number one seed AND hold the tiebreaker if things “even up” in the last few games. Home court advantage is something that every team cherishes this time of year, and these two teams are the best in the league at protecting home floor. While Washington is in the midst of an eight-game winning streak in the Entertainment and Sports Arena, Connecticut holds the best home record in the league at 14-1.

Jonquel Jones, an MVP-caliber player, continues to wreak havoc on the offensive and defensive end. She’s a mismatch for any team at any location on the floor.

Los Angeles Sparks (18-11)

A 29-point shellacking Tuesday night put a damper on the Sparks as a formidable opposition to the red-hot Mystics, at least for the time being. However, this team has found their stride at the right time even though they’ve struggled on the road as of late. Winners of seven of their last 10, the next few games on the schedule could operate as significant confidence boosts: the Las Vegas Aces, Minnesota Lynx and Seattle Storm would be three quality victories.

Chicago Sky (18-12)

The last team to defeat the Mystics, the Sky have claimed victories in seven of their last 10 outings as well. With a first-year coach in James Wade, who overtook a team that missed the postseason last year, they look as hungry as ever to make some noise in a season where many had zero expectations for them. Their offense has been hitting on all cylinder and after defeating the Mystics, Sparks and Aces, all in the same month, they have to feel good about themselves heading into the meat of September.

Regardless of who stands between them and a championship, Washington has operated this entire season with the mindset of no excuses.

Things are looking good for this team as they’re heavy favorites to win it all, but with the official anniversary of their 2018 Finals demise essentially kicking off postseason play this year, the Mystics have to stay hot when it matters the most.

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There's an impressive list of names reportedly joining Bradley Beal in bid to buy the New York Mets

There's an impressive list of names reportedly joining Bradley Beal in bid to buy the New York Mets

Apparently, the New York Mets are popular.

In a group that looks more like some sort of ESPY's afterparty guest list, Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal is reportedly joined by names such as Super Bowl LIV champ Travis Kelce, NFL Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher, Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray, former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas, current Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee, oh, and some people named Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez in a bid to buy the Mets. 

That's quite an eclectic group. 

They've already submitted their initial bid of $1.7 billion, according to the New York Post. Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen has reportedly made a top bid so far of $2 billion. The report says Mets COO Jeff Wilpon would prefer to sell to the "J-Rod" led group if its offer is close to the best bid at the end of the auction. Both have apparently already put up $300 million of their own money towards the potential purchase.

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According to ESPN, the group is awaiting word from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on what will happen next. 

Really the more pressing question though has to be how they all came together. Who would've thought Mason Plumlee and J-Lo would go into business together. Or Beal and Kelce. 

Either way, it's a story that continues to gain traction, and clearly has the star power to make for an interesting future for the Mets organization should the deal go through.  

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Admiral Schofield dropped a lot of weight during quarantine, hoping it can help in several ways

Admiral Schofield dropped a lot of weight during quarantine, hoping it can help in several ways

The NBA is full of very large people, so many that the outliers are the ones who are of average, everyday person size. The guy who is six feet tall stands out in an NBA locker room sort of like a 7-footer would walking through a crowd at a mall.

Wizards rookie Admiral Schofield, though, stood out in his own way in training camp last September. The guy was absolutely jacked, and his name is also Admiral. What a cool name.

Schofield sort of got known for his build and that led to many pointing out how he came from a family of NFL players. There was even a story about the Ravens being interested in him coming out of college.

After four months in quarantine and out of the limelight, Schofiled has now gone through a fairly significant body transformation. He said he has lost close to 20 pounds, choosing to shed a lot of his muscle with some very specific goals in mind.

First, a look at the before and after. Here is an example of Schofield during the season, looking like he could bench a hospital:

And here is him now, about 20 pounds lighter:

Now, for the reasoning. Schofield, who is now down to around 225 pounds, said it's partly so he can be more versatile.

"I was able to get down to a weight where I'm able to play even more positions for the team, and to just be more active on the floor and go longer with higher energy," he said. "I'm just trying to be an all-star in my role and affect winning."

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If Schofield added some speed and agility, that could be good for him. He entered the league as an undersized forward with an undefined role. Being lighter on his feet could allow him to possibly defend guards. And, if he kept some of his bulk and strength, he could still be effective against taller players. 

Schofield didn't offer many details on how he dropped the weight, but he did get very pointed when talking about how it could help his career. He said getting down to the weight he is currently at was a goal of his dating back to his time at the University of Tennessee.

"It's about being able to go as long as possible. That's what it's about. It's about being able to play for 10 years, being able to play for 12 years. Playing with that weight is not good for your knees, it's not good for your joints," he said.

Schofield has been mentioned by Wizards coaches and executives as someone who could find a new role with Davis Bertans out. It sounds like he could also look like a different player, now with less weight to carry around.

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