Earlier this week, the Phoenix Mercury put on a brilliant performance in Game 2 of their semifinal series against the Las Vegas Aces, winning 117-91 thanks to a playoff career-high 37 points from Diana Taurasi. But as they made their way back home for Games 3 and 4, they had more than just basketball to worry about — namely when and where they were going to play.
Due to a previous scheduling conflict at their home arena, the Footprint Center, Game 3 on Sunday had to be moved to Arizona State University’s gym. And because their Game 2 win evened the series at 1-1, which guaranteed there would be a Game 4 on Wednesday night, another issue arose.
The Phoenix Suns also play at the Footprint Center and had a preseason game scheduled with the Los Angeles Lakers for Wednesday night. Both games obviously could not be played at the same time, and it was initially not clear what was going to happen.
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Thankfully, the two teams and leagues have come to an agreement that solves the problem and should make for a terrific day of basketball in Phoenix. The Suns’ preseason game with the Lakers will now be held in the afternoon at 5 p.m. ET, with Game 3 between the Mercury and Aces to follow at 9 p.m. ET.
This really was the perfect way to handle this situation, and it’s nice to see the NBA and WNBA working together — something that should happen more often, especially in cities that have a team in both leagues. A semifinal playoff game should always take precedence over a preseason contest, and turning it into a doubleheader will help draw even more attention and fans to the Mercury. The fact that both games will be played on the Mercury’s court is a nice touch as well.
Now that the logistics have been settled, the Mercury will be able to focus all of their attention on trying to get to the Finals for the first time since 2014. If they keep playing like they did in Game 2, they’ll have a great chance, though the Aces finished No. 2 in the league for a reason and won’t go down without a fight.