Picture, if you could, the Atlanta Hawks taking a 17-point lead into the fourth quarter of the deciding game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Then, imagine the Hawks blowing that lead and getting sent home.
Hawks fans probably could imagine that happening in real life. Tuesday night, it actually happened to our city’s other basketball team.
I’m talking about the Atlanta Dream.
The A-T-L’s WNBA franchise has experienced quite a bit of success since it began play in 2008. The Dream has been to the WNBA Finals three times in the past five seasons, but they didn’t win a single game in any of those series. That’s right – they’re 0-9 in championship-round games.
But at least they’re getting to the finals most years, say Atlanta fans who see their teams frequently get to important postseason matchups, only to fail at achieving the big goal.
(Also read: FSU repeats as national champions if …)
Facing the Chicago Sky in Game 3 Tuesday night, the Dream built a 17-point lead with under eight minutes left in the contest. The top-seeded Dream were rolling the Eastern Conference’s fourth and final seed, and their (thousand or so) fans were taking a breather, assuming the home team was guaranteed to advance.
But, as we’ve learned so often in Atlanta’s sports history, nothing is ever a given.
Naturally, it happened in utterly heartbreaking fashion. The Dream were outscored 30-13 in the final quarter, and one of Chicago’s players outscored the entire Atlanta roster in that final frame.
Heck, the entire city could have been down on the court, wearing Dream jerseys, and Elena Delle Donne would have probably outscored all four million of us. The Atlanta Sports Playoff Curse knows no bounds.
Just another night in the Sports Heartbreak Capital of the World.