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Nov 21st

The hard road to a Lynx dynasty

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796px-maya moore red teamThe Minnesota Lynx have a very special team of leaders.

This is the stuff that sports dynasties are made of. But the road leading to the Lynx third WNBA Championship is just the challenge that this historic group of ballers needs; because after all, championships, dynasties and their big shiny trophies shouldn't come easy ... and they don't.

Though the Lynx first round playoff opponent, the San Antonio Stars, can likely look forward to an early vacation (no disrespect, it just ain't going to happen for them ... we hope), the remainder of the Lynx playoff foes will not dispatch so easily.

The Lynx and Phoenix Mercury are on a collision course for the WNBA ages. And to put it concisely, Mercury stars Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi, "ain't nothin' nice." At 6'8" and boasting the leagues' first highlight reel of dunks, Griner is a basketball nightmare similar to Wilt Chamberlain or Shaquille O'Neal in the men's game. And though the adjectives and statistics for Griner can be rattled on for several pages, it is the cold-blooded Taurasi that should strike the greater fears in the Lynx.

Taurasi is the WNBA forerunner to the greatness of Lynx star forward, Maya Moore. The ridiculous similarities between the two go right down to the fact that they share the same birthday – Taurasi being the seven year elder – and won collegiate championships at the same alma-mater, the University of Connecticut (UCONN).

The prodigious assembly of Taurasi and Griner, is only matched by the fully prodigious assembly of the entire Lynx team; and basketball is a team game. Perhaps no player in the WNBA reflects the nature of team spirit as does Lynx veteran point guard, and former Golden Gopher, Lindsay Whalen. After all, the Lynx championship roll didn't get rolling until Whalen took the helm. Yet the leadership qualities of so many of her Lynx teammates project to be equivalent to their ball-handling leader. Together the team mirrors the spirit of the most recent NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs.

Like the Spurs, the Lynx have a tenured core group of players that have weathered the ups and downs of greatness. Just as the Spurs were shocked by the Miami Heat in a thrilling 2013 NBA Finals competition, the Lynx suffered a similar lesson on readiness, and closing the deal, in a painful WNBA Finals loss to the Indiana Fever in 2012. Both teams immediately bounced back to claim what some would say was rightfully theirs in the following season, and now the Lynx look to solidify a dense collection of championships in order to claim the rights to the powerful word "dynasty."

Winning is a magnet, and Moore is on a fierce path to potentially project as the WNBA version of Michael Jordan. It will be an appalling shame if she does not win the 2014 WNBA MVP award in the weeks to come. The head-to-head record between the Mercury and Lynx goes to the Mercury this year, which won three of their four competitions. The Mercury will have to get past a terribly talented Los Angeles Sparks team before worrying about the Lynx, but they do come into the playoffs having made history with a 29-5 season record.

Just as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson transformed the NBA game into a thrilling exhibition in the early 1980s, so goes the opportunity for a match-up between UCONN alums Moore and Taurasi. In short, "getcha' popcorn ready."
 

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