Tuesday Night Preview & Stats: Sun at Dream, Silver Stars at Sparks

There are only two games tonight, but they a) have significant playoff implications, b) should be good games, and c) feature some of the league's biggest stars.

Who: Connecticut Sun at Atlanta Dream

When: 7:30 p.m. EDT on WNBA LiveAccess

Where: Phillips Arena - Atlanta, GA

What: The fourth and final meeting in the regular season series, which the Sun lead 2-1.

Preview: WNBA.com preview

Who: San Antonio Silver Stars at Los Angeles Sparks

When: 10:30 p.m. EDT on NBA TV | WNBA LiveAccess

Where: Staples Center - Los Angeles, CA

What: The fourth and final meeting comes in the midst of a playoff battle that could go down to the wire with a L.A. win.

Preview: SilverStars.com Gameday Preview


More links, analysis, and key stats after the jump.

Feel free to leave your additional links, insights, and rooting interests in the comments.

Remember, you can follow along on your mobile device at mobile.swishappeal.com or on your iPhone using SB Nation's free iPhone app.

 

7:30 p.m. EDT Connecticut Sun at Atlanta Dream

Both of these teams have secured playoff spots, so this is all about positioning and homecourt advantage.

Links:

Key stat to watch:

Turnovers: The Sun has been the least turnover prone team in the league in the second half of the season, while the Atlanta Dream has a defense that aims to force them. That makes a player like Sixth Woman of the Year candidate Kara Lawson pretty significant.

Key players:

  • Kara Lawson, G, Sun: Lawson's shooting could become a factor in this game, but most of all against the Dream her ball handling will be key - she has a team-high 2.69 pure point rating and the additional ball handling will help. In the Sun's one loss to the Dream, they had 21 turnovers; in their two losses, they had 14 apiece.
  • Armintie Price, G, Dream: Price has not played well against the Sun this season, going 5-for-19 from the field in three meetings. Yet among Price's biggest improvements this season has been her ball handling efficiency - she has a pure point rating of 1.74, good for third on the team. Against the Sun, she's had 7 assists to 3 turnovers in the last two games playing starter-level minutes.

10:30 p.m. EDT San Antonio Silver Stars at Los Angeles Sparks (NBA TV)

If the fourth place Silver Stars win this one, they would still have a chance at the third seed (by virtue of a tiebreaker with the Phoenix Mercury) while the Sparks will fall three games behind with only two games remaining thus extinguishing their playoff hopes.

But if San Antonio drops this one in L.A., the final week of the season will be more exciting with both teams put in a must-win position - L.A. would tie the season series 2-2, but have a tiebreaker edge for the moment due to a better conference record.

Links:

Key stat to watch:

Rebounding: As noted above, neither of these teams is particularly strong on the rebounding front, with or without Parker or Danielle Adams, respectively - they are currently 11th (L.A.) and 12th (San Antonio) in the WNBA in total rebounding percentage. So someone has to win that battle and it could be especially significant for the Silver Stars - the Sparks give up the most second chance points in the league (13.29) and have the lowest defensive rebounding percentage in the league (67%).

Players to watch:

  • Tina Thompson, F, Los Angeles Sparks: If this does come down to rebounding, the Sparks could use a boost from Thompson: she's the team's fourth best defensive rebounder (15.12%), virtually tied with forward Ebony Hoffman and rookie center Jantel Lavender. Another interesting tidbit: she's shot 46.5% from the field in 13 wins and 33.1% in 18 losses. A big game from her would be a big boost for the Sparks.
  • Danielle Adams, F, San Antonio Silver Stars: Adams has shot 6-for-26 in their last three games and is showing now how much the Silver Stars benefited from her scoring in the early season. And again, if the game comes down to rebounding, she is the second best offensive rebounder on the team by percentage (8.84%).
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