Everybody loves the Olympics, but it’s hard to imagine a group was more excited about last month’s Games than the Phoenix Mercury. The Merc’s pre-Olympics season was a 4-15 train-wreck marred by injuries and poor shooting. The good news is that the Mercury will get back a newly-healthy star point-guard Diana Taurasi -- who polished off any rust she may have had en route to winning a gold medal in London. With a healthy Taurasi, the Mercury could be poised to make a run at the playoffs.
If the Mercury are going to make a late-season run they’ll need to make a habit of winning games like Thursday night’s home showdown against the New York Liberty at US Airways Center. It’s not that the Liberty are as bad as their losing record -- they do still have Cappie Pondexter. It’s that Phoenix has no margin for error. Simply put, the Mercury cannot afford to lose home games against losing teams.