It’s time for redemption. The Lynx continue their tough late-season schedule with a visit to Los Angeles to play the Sparks. The Lynx and Sparks have only met once this year when L.A. beat Minnesota 89-85 at Target Center back on June 8.
Outside of a win over a major rival, this would be a great game to get. While the Lynx are a full 3.5 games ahead of the Fever for the eighth and final playoff spot, they would love to use their final seven games of the season to move up a few spots in the standings and give themselves a better chance of getting out of the first round. Los Angeles has lost two in a row and looks vulnerable for one of the first times this season.
In order to beat the Sparks, the Lynx will have to contend with their dangerous frontcourt duo of Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike. While Parker has historically been the star of the show, this year has belonged to Ogwumike. Her efficiency and ability to space the floor are deadly and she is having a career rebounding year as well. Damiris Dantas and Napheesa Collier will need to be at their best.
As a team, the Sparks are one of the best in the league from deep. That will be an interesting test for the Lynx after they have struggled to stop opponents from hitting threes in their last few games. Making sure to stay in Chelsea Gray’s face would be a good start.
What: Lynx at Sparks
When: 9:30 p.m.
Where: Staples Center
Watch: NBA TV
Listen: BOB FM 106.1.
Where to begin? The two franchises have a long rivalry and in addition the Lynx acquired Odyssey Sims—a longtime playoff nemesis of Minnesota—before the season started. Sims has blossomed with the Lynx, making her first All-Star team and leading Minnesota in scoring and assists. The Sparks, meanwhile, have moved Gray to point guard to take over for Sims where she is averaging a career-high 5.8 assists.
Something You Might Not Have Known…
From an advanced stats perspective, the Lynx and the Sparks are extremely close to one another. Minnesota’s 97.2 offensive rating only barely trails Los Angeles’ 97.6. Minnesota is a better defensive team (95.7 rating vs. 96.8) therefore has the better net rating. The difference between the two teams is consistency. Minnesota has lost quite a few games by narrow margins this year. A few bounces of the ball here and there don’t really show up in advanced metrics, but they can definitely be seen in a team’s record, where the only thing that matters is a win or a loss.
Lynx: Karima Christmas-Kelly (knee) and Jessica Shepard (ACL) are out.
Sparks: Karlie Samuelson (knee) and Riquana Williams (suspension) are out.
Lynx: PG—Sims, SG—Augustus, SF—Collier, PF—Dantas, C—Fowles
Sparks: PG—Gray, SG—Wiese, SF—Ruffin-Pratt, PF—Ogwumike, C—Parker