Streaky Dream ready for playoffs


Who: Dream (17-17) vs. Washington (17-17)

Series: Best of three


Game 1: Philips Arena, 8 p.m. Thursday (ESPN2)

Game 2: at Washington, 7 p.m. Saturday (NBA TV)

Game 3: Philips Arena, Monday (time, TV TBA)

The Dream enter the playoffs on a four-game losing streak. They also enter with a 4-13 road record.

But they aren’t worried about either.

They’ve lost four consecutive games four times this season, but each time the streak ended at four. Plus, they don’t have to worry about the road record, at least not yet, because they were able to secure home-court advantage for the first round.

The Dream will play host to Washington (17-17) in the first game of the best-of-three series at 8 p.m. Thursday.

“I can’t picture what it is, but it’s something about when playoff time comes around, we have a tendency to click and make it happen,” coach and general manager Fred Williams said.

Neither Williams nor his players can explain exactly why the team has been so streaky.

In addition to the losing steaks, the Dream have had winning streaks of six, four, and three (twice) games in compiling a 17-17 record and clinching the second seed in the East Conference.

Injuries have played a part in the streaky play. Sancho Lyttle, a key piece on the team in the past five seasons — each of which has ended in the playoffs — has played in only six games this season. Guard Tiffany Hayes missed a total of 11 games in blocks of seven and four with a knee injury in the middle of the season.

But the team is as healthy as others entering the playoffs.

“Right now, none of that matters,” said Armintie Herrington, who is listed as day-to-day with an injured shoulder. “At this time, no record is important. Standings don’t even matter. It’s about who plays hardest and gives that all-out effort.”

Focus also has played a part. The road has been tough for most WNBA teams. The league’s 12 teams won only 39.2 percent of their road games, which makes the first game at Philips Arena even more important for the Dream. They will play at Washington on Saturday and, if necessary again at Philips Arena on Monday.

“We have to protect our home court, and statistically we aren’t a good road team, so we have to focus when we go to Washington because we give up too many points,” said Angel McCoughtry, who finished as the league’s leading scorer (21.5 points per game).

Washington will present a challenge. The Dream won the first three of their meetings in the regular season. Washington took the last two. Each team won once away from home.

The Mystics feature an inside-outside combination of forwards Monique Currie (10.5 points per game) and Crystal Langhorne (12 points per game) and point guard Ivory Latta (13.9 points per game).

“We’ve been through this before,” McCoughtry said. “Once you get to the playoffs it’s a new season. We won’t worry about this any more. It’s time for a new season. Everything’s rosy around here.”