Phoenix Mercury vs. Atlanta Dream Preview, Prediction and Odds - 9/8/21

It’s an interconference contest on the WNBA hardwood down in Hotlanta as the regular season winds down. The Phoenix Mercury are on the road as they make the trip to face the Atlanta Dream Wednesday night. Phoenix swept a two-game set on the road with Indiana as they picked up an 86-81 victory Monday night. Atlanta split a two-game road set with Dallas as they earned a 69-64 victory in the back half of the series Sunday afternoon. The Mercury have won nine of the last 10 meetings between the teams, including eight in a row. That includes a 92-81 home win on August 15 and an 84-69 road win on August 21 in the first two meetings this season.

Phoenix Mercury Looking to Keep Rising

Phoenix ran their win streak to nine games as they swept Indiana on the road in a two-game series by prevailing Monday night in their most recent game. The Mercury improved to 18-10 on the season and entered Tuesday fifth in the WNBA playoff picture, 3.5 games behind the Sun for the top spot. They have clinched a playoff spot and were half a game behind third-place Seattle. Against Indiana, Phoenix trailed 11-2 out of the gate, trimmed the lead to four after the opening quarter and took a one-point lead to the locker room at halftime. The Mercury opened the second half on a 17-0 run to take a 60-42 lead midway through the third quarter and were up 15 after three quarters. Phoenix eased off the gas in the final quarter and it nearly cost them as Indiana closed within three in the final minute before the Mercury earned the win. The Mercury shot 52.3% from the field, including eight of 16 from beyond the arc, and hit 10 of 14 at the line for the victory. Brittney Griner led Phoenix with 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

The Mercury are 4th in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 82.7 points per game. Phoenix is second in rebounding (36.8 rebounds) per contest and stand fifth in the league by handing out 19.7 assists a night. The Mercury are fourth in the league in scoring defense as they give up an average of 79.1 points per game. Skylar Diggins-Smith is second on the Mercury in scoring with 18.5 points plus 5.3 assists a night. Brittney Griner (20.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, two blocks), Diana Taurasi (15.2 points, 4.9 assists) and Brianna Turner (7.9 points, 9.4 rebounds) are solid scoring options. Kia Nurse (9.5 points), Kia Vaughn, Megan Walker, Sophie Cunningham, Shey Peddy and Alanna Smith are other role players for coach Sandy Brondello. Phoenix is third in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.8% as a team from the floor. The Mercury is 5th in three-pointers per game (7.4 per game) and 8th in three-point shooting (34%) this season. Phoenix is 9th in the WNBA in free throw shooting as they cash in 79.2% of their chances on the year. Smith (quarantine) missed Monday’s game and is questionable for this contest.

Atlanta Dream Seeking to Gain Ground in Playoff Picture

Atlanta had dropped 11 straight games and 18 of their previous 20 before beating Dallas on the road Sunday to earn a split of their two-game set in the Lone Star State. The Dream entered Tuesday 7-20 on the year and stood 11th in the WNBA playoff picture, three games behind the Liberty with five to play. On Sunday, Atlanta led by nine early in the game, was up four after one quarter and found themselves even at the half. The score remained tied after three quarters and it was 52-52 with 5:50 to play before Courtney Williams hit a go-ahead three-pointer 20 seconds later. Atlanta never let Dallas even again and hung on for the victory. The Dream shot 40% from the floor, including two of seven from beyond the arc, and held Dallas to 33.3% shooting in the game. Tiffany Hayes led Atlanta with 22 points and eight rebounds in the win.

The Dream is 8th in the league in scoring offense coming into this contest as they average 79.7 points a game this season. Atlanta is 9th in the league in rebounding (34 boards a night) and stands 8th in assists with an average of 18 per game. The Dream are 11th in the league in scoring defense as they allow an average of 85.3 points a contest this season. Tiffany Hayes is one of four players for the Dream scoring in double figures as she puts up 14.3 points a night. Chennedy Carter contributes 14.2 points plus 3.3 assists per contest. Odyssey Sims, Crystal Bradford, Tianna Hawkins, Elizabeth Williams, Monique Billings, Courtney Williams (16.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists), Aari McDonald, Cheyenne Parker (10.2 points, 4.5 boards), Candice Dupree and Shekinna Strickland are other key rotation pieces for coach Darius Taylor. The Dream are 9th in field goal percentage as they shoot 41.5% from the floor as a team. Atlanta stands 10th in threes per game (6.4) and 11th in three-point percentage as they hit 31.9% of their long-range attempts. The Dream is 12th in the league in free throw percentage as they shoot 71.8% from the stripe as a team this year. Carter is suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team during the game against the Aces July 4. Parker is out for the year as she announced she was pregnant last month. Bradford (foot) was ruled out for the remainder of the season on August 31. Hawkins (foot) missed the last two games and is questionable here.

Pick: Phoenix Mercury

While Atlanta did manage to snap an 11-game skid by prevailing over Dallas Sunday on the road, the fact remains that they are near the bottom of the standings. The Dream are abysmal defensively and have dealt with a series of injuries that have taken contributors out of their rotation. Meanwhile, Phoenix has been rolling along and, other than Connecticut, are the hottest team in the league. The Mercury have been putting the boots to the opposition during this win streak and they have the advantage when it comes to talent. Look for Griner, Diggins-Smith and Taurasi to carry the Mercury to another win as they roll here.

Total: Over

We just saw Phoenix go over the mark in their win over Indiana as the Fever used a fourth-quarter rally for a back-door cover in that contest. The Mercury have seen the over hit in five of their last 10 games and that gives the under a 14-13-1 advantage in those contests. With that said, Phoenix is better on the road, posting an 11-3 mark while averaging 85.4 points per game. That’s a marked increase from their 7-7 home mark, where they average 79.9 points. Atlanta is second worst in scoring defense while they are dead last in field goal percentage defense (46.4%) and three-point field goal percentage defense (39%) on the year. With the way the Mercury has produced offensively on the road, you have to think this one ends up over the total.

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Chris King

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO. If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career. Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.