Published September 23. 2012 4:00AM
Mohegan — There is always something to play for, which is why all arenas have scoreboards. Besides, a victory today for the Connecticut Sun would ensure the regular season champs of the Eastern Conference the WNBA's second-best record overall.
And that might mean something if the Sun reach the finals and play anybody else but Minnesota.
So while Sun coach Mike Thibault isn't likely to ask anyone for absurdly high minutes today against Atlanta (5 p.m., Mohegan Sun Arena, CPTV Sports, CPTV), there is some significance to the game.
What we know: Asjha Jones will start and play probably somewhere in the 10-15 minute range as she slowly heals from a strained Achilles' tendon. Danielle McCray (tweaked MCL) won't play, although McCray said she would be ready for the playoffs.
"We're trying to win a game to have the second-best record in the league (behind the Lynx)," coach Mike Thibault said.
The Sun need a victory to stay a game ahead of Los Angeles for the second-best record. The Sparks swept the season series from Connecticut.
Sun players Tina Charles (league's top rebounding) and Kara Lawson (league's best free throw shooter) have chances to win individual titles today. Charles has a slight edge on Sylvia Fowles for the rebounding title while Lawson has made 93.3 percent of her free throws.
Atlanta (19-14) has won four straight and seven of its last 10.
The Dream have played better since center Erika DeSouza rejoined the team after the Olympic break. DeSouza represented Brazil in the 2012 London games and missed the first half of the season in the WNBA.
The Dream also have the league's leading scorer in Angel McCoughtry (21.8 points per game).
Atlanta, considered perhaps the most dangerous playoff team in the WNBA, let alone the Eastern Conference, has been to the WNBA Finals the last two seasons, losing to Phoenix and Minnesota.
The Sun have won two of the three games against Atlanta this season. Atlanta eliminated Connecticut from the 2011 playoffs.
The Sun, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, open the playoffs Thursday night against New York at Mohegan Sun Arena (8 p.m., ESPN2). The best-of-three series moves to the Prudential Center in Newark for Game 2 Saturday night at 7 (NBA TV). The if-necessary game is next Monday at Mohegan Sun Arena (7 p.m., NBA TV).
The Sun won four of the five regular-season games from New York.