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It’s an inter-conference clash between a pair of teams jockeying for playoff position out in the City of Angels. The Connecticut Sun makes the trip across the country as they face the Los Angeles Sparks Tuesday night. Connecticut was knocked off 84-70 on the road by Seattle Sunday night as their recent struggles continued. Los Angeles snapped a two game skid by splitting a home and home set with Las Vegas by picking up an 87-71 win at home Sunday afternoon. The Sky ran to a 102-94 win in the first matchup this season, which came at home on May 24.
Connecticut Sun Looking to Rise Again
Connecticut continued to sputter as they lost for the sixth time in eight games after their 7-1 start with the loss in Seattle. The Sun fell to 9-7 on the season and hold the sixth spot in the playoff picture, three games behind the Mercury for the top spot and 1.5 games ahead of the eighth-place Wings. Connecticut trailed by 12 at the half and cut the deficit to four midway through the third quarter before going ice cold. The Sun gave up a 21-2 run over an eight minute span covering the third and fourth quarters to fall behind by 25: they were unable to recover. Connecticut shot only 37.5 percent from the field and struggled to go six of 24 from beyond the arc in the loss. Alex Bentley led the Sun with 15 points in the loss.
The Sun is leading the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 87.8 points per game so far this season. Connecticut leads the league in rebounding (37.3 boards a night) while they stand seventh by dishing out 19 assists a game on the year. The Sun is slipping a bit defensively as they are eighth in scoring defense by allowing an average of 82.5 points per game. Chiney Ogwumike leads Connecticut with 15.2 points plus eight rebounds per contest. Jasmine Thomas puts up 13.4 points plus 4.6 assists a game, Courtney Williams chips in 12.3 points plus six boards a night and Alyssa Thomas is good for 12 points, 9.9 boards and 4.2 assists per game. Alex Bentley (10 points), Jonquel Jones, Shekinna Strickland, Rachel Banham, Brionna Jones and Morgan Tuck are all key cogs in the high octane Sun offensive attack. Connecticut is fourth in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 45.4 percent as a team. The Sun is fourth in three pointers per game (7.6) and eighth in three point percentage (34.8 percent) on the year. Connecticut has sputtered at the charity stripe as they convert on 74.3 percent of their attempts, which is second to last in the league.
Los Angeles Sparks Shoot for Back to Back Wins
Los Angeles snapped their two game slide by picking up the win over Las Vegas at home less than 48 hours after losing to the Aces on the road. The Sparks improved to 12-5 on the season: they are tied for the second spot in the playoff picture, half a game behind the Mercury though Seattle owns the tiebreaker. Los Angeles led by 10 after the opening quarter and led by as many as 27 en route to the victory. The Sparks shot a blistering 58.3 percent from the field and drilled eight of 18 three point attempts in the win while forcing 21 Las Vegas turnovers. Jantel Lavender led Los Angeles with 17 points off the bench in the win.
The Sparks are ninth in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 79.7 points per game. Los Angeles is last in the league in rebounding (30.2 boards a night) and stand eighth in assists with 18.9 per game. The Sparks lead the league in scoring defense as they give up just 76.3 points a contest. Nneka Ogwumike is second on Los Angeles with 15.9 points plus 7.4 rebounds a game. Candace Parker chips in a team leading 16.4 points, 6.6 rebounds plus 4.1 assists per contest while Chelsea Gray (15.1 points, 5.5 dimes) and Odyssey Sims (10.5 points, 3.2 assists) also score in double figures. Riquna Williams, Essence Carson, Alana Beard and Jantel Lavender are all valuable pieces of the Sparks’ rotation. The Sparks are leading the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 47.2 percent as a team on the year. Los Angeles is ninth in the league in three point field goals per game (5.7) and stand tied for third in three point percentage at 36.1 percent. The Sparks are seventh in the league in free throw percentage as they cash in 79.1 percent of their chances at the line.
- Sun are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Tuesday games
- Sparks are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
Los Angeles picked up the win against Vegas as they snapped their skid and now get a Connecticut team that has lost six of eight games. The Sun is going to be without Alyssa Thomas for the eighth straight game and Courtney Williams is questionable in this one. That could slow the Sun a little bit but they do have enough weapons to keep up even missing a piece or two. In the end, the Sparks may escape with the win but this one is a close game: take the points and the Sun in this contest.
Pick: Connecticut Sun +6.5