The Phoenix Mercury hosts the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday night; it is a big game for playoff position. The Mercury are currently ninth seed, just outside the playoffs. It’s a must-win game for both teams.
Phoenix is coming off five days of rest after a massive 94-78 win over the Seattle Storm last Friday. The Mercury will continue to lean on Skylar Diggins-Smith, who is averaging 20 points per game on 43.6 shooting from the field. Phoenix will need to play tough defense in the paint and an up-tempo basketball style to beat the much bigger Sparks.
Nneka Ogwumike is leading the Sparks in scoring 18.7 points while shooting 56.5% from the field. With Liz Cambage no longer with the team, Ogwumike will have more room to work in the paint. Due to Mercury’s lack of size, Los Angeles will try to slow the game down and get the ball inside.
For Phoenix to win this game, they will need not to get outrebounded by a wide margin and try to slow down Ogwumike. Also, they must close out on three-point shooters, something they struggled with all season. The Mercury will shoot a lot of three-point shots. Hopefully, they can knock them down at a high clip as they did against Seattle.
The Thursday night game should be fun to watch; it should be a playoff atmosphere with both teams trying to make the playoffs. However, the sixth through eleventh seeds are close together. So it could come down to which teams get hot at the right time. The Mercury and Sparks will look to win on Thursday night.
- Date: Thursday, July 28
- Location: Foot Print Center, Phoenix, Arizona
- Time: 7:00 p.m. PT
- TV: Bally Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Arizona, CBS Sports Network
- Live Stream: CBS Live Stream(try it free)
Spread: Mercury (-3.5)
Money Line: Phoenix (-165), Los Angeles (+145)
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LaMarr Fields is a WNBA Insider, Sports Insider, and breaking news reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on Twitter via @lburncitysports