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Dallas Wings vs. Los Angeles Sparks,
7/12/18 - WNBA Prediction and Preview

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

It’s a battle of Western Conference foes on the WNBA hardwood in the City of Angels. The Dallas Wings are on the road as they travel to face the Los Angeles Sparks Thursday afternoon. Dallas won its fourth straight with a 101-72 demolition of Phoenix at home Tuesday. Los Angeles snapped a three game slide as they edged Seattle 77-75 in overtime on the road Tuesday. The teams split two previous meetings this season: Dallas prevailed 101-72 at home June 22 while Los Angeles countered with an 87-83 home win on June 26.

Dallas Wings Seek to Soar to Fifth Straight Win

Dallas is on a roll with four straight wins, all of which have come by double figures, after they thrashed Phoenix Tuesday. The Wings improved to 11-8 on the year and stand sixth in the WNBA playoff picture, three games behind the top-seeded Storm. Dallas led the final 38 plus minutes of the contest: their last deficit was at 6-5. The Wings were up 13 after one quarter and never had their lead drop to single digits the rest of the way. Dallas shot 50.7 percent from the floor and went seven of 18 from three point range in the contest. The Wings forced 21 Mercury turnovers and won the rebounding battle 36-21: Skylar Diggins-Smith paced Dallas with 20 points in the victory.

The Wings come into this one tied for first in the league in scoring with 87 points per game this season. Dallas is second in rebounding (36.6 boards per contest) but rank ninth in the league in assists with 17.4 per game. The Wings are in the middle of the pack defensively, ranking sixth by allowing 81 points per contest. Skylar Diggins-Smith is part of a solid 1-2 scoring punch for Dallas with 19.3 points plus 6.2 assists per game on the year. Liz Cambage is a solid secondary scoring option with a team high 20.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Kayla Thornton, Glory Johnson, Allisha Gray, Kaela Davis and Azura Stevens are going to have to step up and contribute for the Wings. Dallas will miss Karima Christmas-Kelly, who is done for the year after undergoing season-ending knee surgery last month. The Wings are seventh in the league in field goal percentage as they hit 44.5 percent as a team. Dallas is seventh in three pointers per game (6.7) and stand 11th in three point shooting as they hit only 31.5 percent from long range. The Wings are eighth in free throw shooting as they convert 79.3 percent of their chances at the stripe.

Los Angeles Sparks Hope to Start Win Streak

Los Angeles limped into Seattle losers of three straight and five of six before emerging with the overtime win. The Sparks improved to 13-8 and are third in the WNBA playoff picture, two games behind the Storm: they look to start a win streak here. Los Angeles relied on defense down the stretch: trailing by 10 after three quarters, they held Seattle to six points in the fourth to force overtime. In the extra session, Alana Beard gave Los Angeles a 71-70 lead they wouldn’t relinquish and they held on for the win. The Sparks shot 40 percent from the floor and went six of 15 from beyond the arc in the contest. Los Angeles forced 21 turnovers to offset a 41-34 disadvantage on the boards: Candace Parker had 21 points, nine boards, 10 assists and four steals to lead the Sparks.

The Sparks are ninth in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 78.6 points per game. Los Angeles is last in the league in rebounding (30 boards a night) and stand eighth in assists with 18.7 per game. The Sparks are tied for the league lead in scoring defense as they give up just 76.7 points a contest. Nneka Ogwumike is currently second on Los Angeles with 16.3 points plus 7.7 rebounds a game. Candace Parker chips in a team high 16.4 points, 6.8 rebounds plus 4.4 assists per contest while Chelsea Gray (14.9 points, 5.2 dimes) and Odyssey Sims (9.2 points, 3.1 assists) are solid scoring options. Riquna Williams, Essence Carson, Alana Beard and Jantel Lavender are all valuable pieces of the Sparks’ rotation. The Sparks are second in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 46.2 percent as a team on the year. Los Angeles is ninth in the league in three point field goals per game (5.6) and stand seventh in three point percentage at 35.1 percent. The Sparks are fifth in the league in free throw percentage as they cash in 80.7 percent of their chances at the line.

Trends:

Dallas

  • Wings are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games
  • Wings are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall
  • Wings are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 1 day of rest

Los Angeles

  • Sparks are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
  • Sparks are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games playing on 1 day of rest
  • Sparks are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win

This one is a surprising line given that the Sparks are just 2-5 in their last seven games. I understand that they are at home, where they have gone 8-3 this season, and that the Wings are only 4-5 on the road. With that said, Dallas only lost by four here two weeks ago and since that point in time, they’ve turned things around. We’ve seen the Wings win four straight games by double figures with three of those decided by at least 23 points. It’s hard to see Los Angeles completely slowing a team that has broken the 90 point barrier in four straight games. Take the points and the Wings in this one.

Pick: Dallas Wings +7

Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.

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