The scene was set for an often cliche yet never rejected elimination game story.
With a little sign of pain and a point towards the court, Tamika Catchings returned to the lineup to a standing ovation from the crowd.
Seeming doubtful for the contest after tearing her plantar fascia in her right foot, she came off the bench just four minutes into the game in hopes of leading the Fever to their second WNBA finals in three seasons.
Problem was, the perceived antagonist wasn't going to come close to letting it happen.
Led by the solid duo of Angel McCoughtry and Izi Castro-Marques, the Dream lead for the majority of the game a used a dominant second half to win Game 3 of the WNBA Eastern Conference Finals 83-67 at Conseco Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.
It ends a season where the Fever were the best team in the Eastern Conference, they're forced to settle with another season without a WNBA championship.
Some might have already considered that so if Catchings wouldn't have been able to play Monday night due to the foot injury. But doctors cleared the 2011 WNBA MVP a hour before and four minutes in she made her first appearance on the floor.
But her presence (6 Points, 5 Rebounds in 24 minutes) wasn't enough to stop a much quicker Dream squad from immediately jumping to the advantage.
Atlanta led by five in the second and still had the advantage at halftime by four but in the end it was a bit of a mirage.
In the third the Dream stormed ahead for good thanks to the combo of Castro Marques and McCoughtry. The duo helped to drive Atlanta to a 18-4 run at the start of the second half, capped by a Castro-Marques three-pointer that pushed the lead to 57-39.
That was one of five three-pointers for her on the evening in which she scored 23 points in what was just her second start of the playoffs. She was inserted into the lineup when Erika De Souza left the team to practice with her Brazlian National Team as they worked to qualify for the olympics.
McCoughtry used a few more baskets in the second half to add to her game-high 26 points, keep the lead well above double digits and turning the final Fever game of the season into an easy walk to a second consecutive WNBA Finals appearance.