Saturday, June 26, 2010
Who: The Atlanta Dream (10-4) take on the Los Angeles Sparks (3-9) in an interconference game.
The Dream are led by Angel McCoughtry, who is scoring 20.6 points per game. Sancho Lyttle (15.3 ppg/10.9 rpg) is an All-Star post, and Iziane Castro Marques (16.6 ppg) will be playing on the Brazilian national team at the end of the season with Erika de Souza (12.6 ppg/9.0 rpg). The Los Angeles Sparks will have to depend on Tina Thompson (13.6 ppg/5.7 rpg) and Delisha Milton-Jones (12.6 ppg) with Candace Parker out for the rest of the season.
What: The second of two regular season games against the Los Angeles Sparks. On May 30th, the Dream won 101-82 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Where: Philips Arena in Atlanta.
When: Tip-off is at 3 pm Eastern time, Sunday June 27th. The game will be shown on NBA TV, but will probably be blacked out in Atlanta. However, you should be able to watch the game on Sports South - if not live, then game-delayed.
Why: This is a rare down year for the Sparks - the Sparks are at 3-9 and are threatening to win the Maya Moore sweepstakes in the 2011 WNBA Draft. Candace Parker will have surgery on her easily-dislocated left shoulder and will miss the rest of the season. Parker was averaging a double-double with 20.6 ppg and 10.1 rpg. Betty Lennox - remember her? - will probably have knee surgery sometime next week and she'll be out for four to six weeks. The Los Angeles Sparks are clearly a team in disarray.
Remember last year when Pat Summitt brought all of her close personal friends to fill up Philips Arena? Tennessee faithful hoped to see Chamique Holdsclaw and Candace Parker square off last year. What a difference a season makes. Parker's out, Holdsclaw and Snow have skedaddled to San Antonio and unless the rosters shuffle before tomorrow there won't be a single player with a Tennessee Lady Volunteer pedigree on the court.
Los Angeles's performance could depend on Tina Thompson, the final survivor of the inaugural 1997 WNBA season - so if you need a reason to come, it would be to see a legend playing at Philips. Thompson scored 24 points at home against Connecticut and lost by three; the Mystics stomped out the Sparks by 15 in Washington when Thompson was held to nine points. If Thompson has another bad game, the Dream could (hopefully) pick up their 11th win before the season is even half-over.
If the Dream wins tomorrow, it will be the first season sweep of the Sparks in the Dream's history and give the Dream a 4-2 lifetime record against Los Angeles. (It will also be the Dream's first ever home win against LA.) Covers.com has Atlanta as a 10-point favorite, but I'm not counting this game as wrapped up until the final buzzer sounds.