Preview: Lynx vs. Aces

While the Minnesota Lynx have righted the ship in 2018, they still haven’t found the consistency that has marked the franchise over recent years.

The Lynx (12-8), who host the Las Vegas Aces on Friday at the Target Center in Minneapolis, put their 3-6 start in the rearview mirror but have been up and down of late.

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A dominating home win over their arch rival, the Los Angeles Sparks, was sandwiched between two inexplicable losses — a 71-59 home defeat to an Indiana Fever team that was winning for only the second time all season and a loss to the struggling Chicago Sky.

“When you don’t pay attention to detail on both ends of the floor, you’re very up and down,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve told the (St. Paul, Minn.) Pioneer Press. “Sometimes you set a good screen, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you take a good shot, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you play the schemes, sometimes you don’t. That leads to very up and down.”

Minnesota, which exacted revenge from the Fever with an 87-65 blowout victory Wednesday, has already exceeded its 2017 loss total (seven).

“It’s a funky year,” Reeve said. “How many losses do we have, and we still have a chance of achieving our goals. But it’s not really about that right now. We’re so locked in on wanting to play at a higher level, more consistently, so you guys don’t call us names.”

Las Vegas (9-12) also rebounded from a slow start this season reaching nine wins after its first three-game win streak of 2018. The franchise hadn’t won more than eight games in any of the past three years.

The Aces are coming off a 98-74 victory over the Chicago Sky on Tuesday. But their first matchup with the Lynx didn’t go so well. Minnesota scored the game’s first nine points and cruised to an 88-73 win in Las Vegas on June 24.

For Aces coach Bill Laimbeer it was an opportunity to make a comparison.

“I told our players that they have what we need to acquire, and that’s mental toughness,” Laimbeer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “(The Lynx) have been there, done that. They play well together. When things go wrong, they hunker down and make things happen. It’s an acquired collective thing.”

Las Vegas has won eight of its past 13 games to move within 1 1/2 games of Connecticut for eighth place and the final playoff spot.