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WNBA Finals Game 3: Mystics vs. Storm Preview, time, TV channel, how to watch

WNBA Finals Game 3: Mystics vs. Storm Preview, time, TV channel, how to watch

Wednesday night is do-or-die time in the WNBA Finals for the Washington Mystics. The Mystics, who trail two games to none in a best-of-five series to the Seattle Storm, face elimination if they can't rally for Game 3 played at home at George Mason University's Eagle Bank Arena in Fairfax, Va. 

The Mystics have never made it to the WNBA Finals in their short 20-year history. The Seattle Storm, however, is making their third appearance in the WNBA Finals. The other two appearances resulted in championships in 2004 and 2010.

The best-of-five series has been dominated by the Storm. Despite a last-ditch attempt to come back in the fourth quarter of Game 2, the Mystics missed every single 3-pointer, which ultimately cost them the game.

Elena Delle Donne, who suffered a bone bruise during Game 2 of the WNBA semifinals vs. the Atlanta Dream, ditched the knee brace that seemed to limit her in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals for a knee sleeve in Game 2, and the results were apparent. Delle Donne's 17 points in Game 2 bests her 10-point performance during the entirety of Game 1.

Washington will need to shut down Seattle's Breanna Stewart, the 2017 WNBA MVP and who led the Storm with 25 points in Game 2, if they want to have a chance of extending the series to a Game 4 and 5.

Mystics vs. Storm Game 3 Preview

How to Watch Mystics vs. Storm Game 3

What: 2018 WNBA Playoffs, Finals (Game 3) 
Where: Eagle Bank Arena, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.
When: 8:00 p.m. ET. Wednesday, September 12
TV Channel: ESPN2

3 Things to Know

From the Land of 3
In Game 2 vs. the Seattle Storm, the Mystics shot 0-16 from three-point range. In the regular season, Washington was third in three-point FGM/GM (8.4). The Mystics are averaging 6.8 three-pointers FGM/GM this postseason.

Taking the Lead
The Mystics had a five-point lead in Game 2. That's the biggest lead Washington has had in the entire series after only having a one-point lead early in the first quarter in Game 1.

3 Things to Watch

Playing in the Paint
After giving up 50 points in the paint in Game 1, the Mystics controlled the paint in Game 2 and only allowed 26 points. In fact, Washington won the battle in the paint 38-26 after losing 50-32 in Game 1.

Turnovers 
After 13 turnovers in Game 1, Washington only turned the ball over seven times in Game 2. However five turnovers came in the fourth quarter. Conversely, after Seattle only turned the ball over 10 times in Game 1, that total jumped to 15 in Game 2.

Bounce Back Game for Atkins
After scoring a career playoff high 23 points (10-14 FG) vs. Storm in Game 1, Ariel Atkins scored a quiet 15 points (4-15 FG) in Game 2 (7-8 FT).

Mystics Keys to Victory

1. Fast Start
Mystics need to get off to a fast start, something they have not done in this series. In Game 1, Washington trailed Seattle 24-13 after one, and down as many as 16 in the first half. The Storms' largest lead of 27 came in the third quarter. In Game 2, the Mystics trailed 25-16 after one. Seattle had a 12-point lead early in the second quarter before Washington went on a 24-8 run to close out the second and lead 40-36 at half.

2. Don’ Let Jewell Shine
After scoring 23 points in Game 1, it took a half for Jewell Lloyd to get the scoring going in Game 2. Mystics contained her in the first 20 minutes as Lloyd only scored one point in the first half. After the break she added 12 points to help the Storm secure a two-point victory.

3. Bench Matters
After Washington’s bench outscored Seattle’s bench in Game 1, 27-13, the Mystics’ bench outscored the Storm’s bench 16-12 in Game 2. Mystics forward Myisha Hines-Allen continues to shine off the pine with eight points on 4-4 shooting in Game 1 and six points on 3-3 shooting in Game 2. Hines-Allen is shooting 7-7 FG (100%) in both games combined vs. Storm.

Tidbits

Mystics Third Home
Washington will be hosting a game in a third venue this year. After a 12-5 record at Capital One Arena (2nd best record at home this season), the Mystics went 2-1 in the playoffs at the Smith Center at George Washington University. This will be the first time the Mystics will have ever played at Eagle Bank Arena on the campus of George Mason University. Keep in mind Washington had the third best road record during the regular season at 10-7. In the 2018 playoffs, Mystics are 2-3 on the road.

Storm Court Advantage
George Mason colors are green and gold. The same as the Seattle Storm. Eagle Bank Arena approximate capacity is 10,000. The Mystics are expecting a near sellout. For Washington it will help if the fans show up in red, white, and blue to wash out the green and gold seats.

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

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Bradley Beal's agent says guard's not looking for a trade: 'He wants to win'

Bradley Beal, his agent Mark Bartlestein told Bleacher Report, would like to stay in Washington - even as he's a hot topic among front offices as the trade deadline approaches.

From Bleacher Report:

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, is not looking for a trade. "Brad wants to win, Bartelstein told B/R. "He wants to win at the highest level, and he wants to compete for championships. I think he's seeing progress, and he's going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he's going to do his best to get them out of it.

The Wizards are facing tough decisions when it comes to the future of the franchise as this season's trade deadline approaches. Beal, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig detailed this week, is among the most tradable assets they have, especially when it comes to their three major contracts. But owner Ted Leonsis took a firm stance against tanking while speaking to reporters in London, and Beal is integral to their playoff hopes with John Wall sidelined. 

This isn't the first time this season that Beal has denied wanting to be anywhere but DC. When drama swirled around the team earlier this season, Beal denied a report that he had requested a trade.

"That's nonsense," he said at the time. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like, 'If it didn't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me.' I got this Washington jersey on and I come here and work everyday, you know, until otherwise. This is where I wanna be."

Earlier this season, it was reported that the Raptors were interested in Beal but couldn't afford what the Wizards were asking for him. According to the latest report on Beal from Bleacher Report, there are a number of teams who may still be interested. 

Again, from Bleacher Report:

There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal," a Western Conference executive told B/R.

But even if some fans are clamoring for a big trade at the deadline, the price tag for Beal - who had 26 points in the Wizards' comeback win over the Knicks this week - only seems to be rising. 

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G-Leaguer Jordan McRae who dropped 54 points could be a roster addition for Wizards

G-Leaguer Jordan McRae who dropped 54 points could be a roster addition for Wizards

Time is nearly up for the Washington Wizards to replace Ron Baker on the active roster.

Jordan McRae made his strongest push yet for the gig.

McRae, one of the Wizards’ two-way contract players, scored 54 points for Capital City Friday night in the Go-Go’s 118-107 win over the Main Red Claws. That’s the most points scored by any G-League player this season.

Makes sense this wing guard holds the distinction. McRae leads the league in scoring with 29.5 points per game.

Finding such opportunities with Washington this season has not come as easy. McRae, a 27-year-old with prior NBA experience, scored only four points in 35 minutes over eight games for the 19-26 Wizards this season.

While shuttling back and forth between the two levels since Baker’s release on Jan. 7, the 6-foot-5 guard’s lone appearance came in the final minutes of a 17-point win over Philadelphia on Jan. 9.

For now, McRae and Devin Robinson, Washington’s other two-way contract player, offer in-case-of-emergency depth. Robinson traveled with the Wizards to London for Thursday’s win over the New York Knicks but did not play.

Someone else will join the roster soon.

League rules mandate a minimum of 14 players. Teams have two weeks to reach that number should they drop below. Washington, which kept its 15th slot open all season, did upon releasing Baker.

The Wizards could and likely will fill the void by signing a free agent to a 10-day contract. Another body would not hurt.

John Wall (heel surgery) is out for the season. Uncertain recovery timelines exist for forward Markieff Morris (neck) and center Dwight Howard (back surgery).

McRae is not an option for the 10-day scenario, but he has shown a readiness with the scorching Go-Go. Capital City has won seven of its last eight games.

“He’s done a great job staying with his development on and off the court,” Go-Go coach Jarell Christian said of McRae. “He’s our leader. For him to continue to play the right way, everyone else just falls in line.”

McRae’s scoring surge comes after he sat out last season with a shoulder injury.

“It was the first time in my life being injured. Being out for a whole year, it was tough for me,” McRae said. “Being with these guys every day, going back and forth with the Wizards, it’s tiring, but its fun. It’s my job.”

Christian offered advice on the key for McRae should the Wizards eventually turn McRae’s contract from a two-way to an NBA deal and set him loose on the court.

“I think it’s just about his mentality. When he's thrown into a game on the next level, still being able to function without getting the ball every possession. Being a floor spacer and continue to play defense,” Christian said. “He’s taken initiatives in some games and become the best defender on the team. I think every team wants somebody who wants to take that initiative and become a lockdown defender.”

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