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Preview: Sparks, Mercury and Dream hope to maintain momentum on Sunday night

The Lynx, meanwhile, hope to snap a two-game slide for a final playoffs push.

Can the Lynx overcome lackluster performances and a two-game slide for a win over Atlanta Sunday night?
Photo by Joshua Huston/NBAE via Getty Images

The 2018 WNBA season gives new meaning to the phrase “every game counts.” Sunday’s late games are no different, with all four teams having lots to lose — or gain.

Phoenix Mercury (16-12) at LA Sparks (16-11)

When: Sunday, August 5 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles | TICKETS

How to watch: NBA TV (nationally) | SPECSN (Los Angeles)

Injury report: For Phoenix, Sancho Lyttle (knee) is out for the season. For LA, everyone is good to go.

Keys to the clash

  • Both teams snapped losing skids after the All-Star break, with LA blowing out Minnesota at home behind a Candace Parker double-double on August 2 (79-57) and Phoenix besting the Aces on August 1 (104-93) behind a combined 82 points from the Mercury’s Big Three of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner.
  • Stephanie Talbot is expected to get her third start of the season for Phoenix as the Mercury continue to look for ways to fill the defensive void left by Sancho Lyttle.
  • At fifth place in the standings to the Sparks’ third place, the Mercury need this win most and will be seeking to get Talbot and Devereaux Peters, who just signed a seven-day contract with the the team, up to speed. LA will seek to make it two wins in a row to tie (or stay one game behind) Atlanta.

Atlanta Dream (17-10) at Minnesota Lynx (15-12)

When: Sunday, August 5 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Target Center, Minneapolis | TICKETS

How to watch: WNBA League Pass (worldwide) | Fox Sports North (Minneapolis) | Fox Sports Southeast (Atlanta)

Injury report: For Atlanta, Damiris Dantas (right ankle) is questionable. Minnesota, presumably, is good to go.

Keys to the clash

  • The season series is on the line tonight. Atlanta won the first matchup on May 29, in the first eye-popping dream crush of the season, 76-74. The Lynx got the second win on June 29, 85-74.
  • For Atlanta, the outcome of tonight’s game is a difference between mediocrity (staying with the crowded middle of the standings pack) and greatness (closing the gap separating them from the first-place Seattle Storm).
  • At seventh in the standings, just one game ahead of the eighth-place Wings, and coming into tonight’s contest having lost two in a row, the Lynx will be bloodthirsty for a win. But Atlanta, powered by Player of the Week Tiffany Hayes and a big championship dream, have demonstrated all season that they can muster an edge against any team.