That All-Star snub is about to hurt a lot less.
Chelsea Gray continued her scorching tear in the playoffs Tuesday night, bringing the Las Vegas Aces together in one game of their first WNBA championships. For the sixth time in eight playoff games, Gray finished with 20 plus points.
He also had eight assists in an 85-71 win against the Connecticut Sun.
Win Thursday night in Connecticut and Gray will give the biggest round of applause to anyone who doesn’t think he’s All-Star material.
See, in July, the Aces made the All-Star Game the WNBA’s equivalent of an off-the-court pullback. Becky Hammon coached one of the teams. A’ja Wilson was one of the captains. Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young were also named as starters. Dearica Hamby was the backup.
And Gray? He was nowhere to be found.
Now, Gray could scowl at being overlooked. Instead, he used one of his best postseason performances in any league as fueling motivation.
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Since the start of the semifinals, the monster that clinched Las Vegas’ Finals drive against Seattle Storm in Game 4 has averaged 28.4 points, including 31 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
Tuesday night had a quiet start – as quiet as Gray can get. But when Connecticut somehow managed to get him under control, he focused on the rest of his game and set up his teammates instead. Six of Las Vegas’ seven shots came from Gray passes, and none were sweeter than the unseen dinner he made for A’ja Wilson under the basket that lifted the Aces row.
But as the game tightened, Gray showed his distinctive toughness. He was hit repeatedly by the sun and was not startled at all, knocking 3 of them down despite a hard hit at one point.
Best of all, Gray has a lot of fun doing it. After this 3, he shivered sitting on the floor like a kid in Sit N’ Spin.
But the real fun will come with another win.
This article was originally published on USA TODAY: Las Vegas Aces win WNBA Finals Game 2 after great effort from Chelsea Gray