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The Mystics host fourth-place Atlanta (19-15) on Wednesday night in the opener of their series. Washington won three of four in the season series, including the finale on Sunday to secure the No. 1 seed.

“Starting out at home is very advantageous,” Currie said. “We had a little slump after the All-Star Game, but we kept working and things are really clicking now.”

The third-year Dream are in the playoffs for the second straight season. After opening with six wins _ two more than its total in 2008 _ Atlanta was in first place before closing with six losses in their last seven games.

“We just didn’t play that well at the end of the year,” Dream coach and general manager Marynell Meadors said. “We had injuries to key players, and with an 11-player roster, that can really throw chemistry off. … I’m proud of our team for getting to the playoffs, and whether we limped in or knocked the doors down, we’re there.”

The West’s other series features the defending champion Mercury (15-19) taking on third-place San Antonio (14-20) on Thursday night. Phoenix, which acquired Candice Dupree from Chicago in the three-team deal that sent Pondexter to New York, struggled for consistency and finished with eight fewer wins than a year ago. The Mercury lost six of their last seven but still managed to finish second in the West.

The Silver Stars lost five of seven before winning their last two games to beat out Minnesota for one of the West’s last two playoff spots. San Antonio then edged Los Angeles for the No. 3 seed with a victory against the Mercury on the last day.

“I think we can compete with anybody,” the Silver Stars’ Becky Hammon said. “We’re glad that we did what we needed to do to get into the playoffs. The playoffs are a whole new season, nothing in the past matters. The only thing that matters is Thursday.”


AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed to this report.