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Preview: Sparks host red-hot Brittney Griner and the Mercury in Thursday night WNBA triple-header

The Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury meet tonight in a late evening match on ESPN2. In other WNBA action, the Washington Mystics host the Indiana Fever and the Seattle Storm host the Dallas Wings.

Los Angeles Sparks v Phoenix Mercury
Brittney Griner scored 30 points on the Washington Mystics in her last outing. But the Mercury center will have her hands full when Phoenix plays the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday night.
Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Sparks (13-8) are on a three-game winning streak and look to extend it against the Phoenix Mercury (11-10) on Thursday.

The Sparks are entering the second game of a three-game homestand which includes an 83-75 win over the Seattle Storm on Sunday, Aug. 4. Nneka Ogwumike has double-doubles in points and rebounds in three of her last four outings, while Candace Parker has scored 16 or more points in her two games since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined her for most of July. Chiney Ogwumike missed the Sparks’ last two games due to a tooth extraction, but she is probable to return against Phoenix.

Phoenix is holding the fort this season without Diana Taurasi. Brittney Griner is averaging 19.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and a career-high 2.4 assists per game. She is coming off a 30-point performance in a 103-82 win over the Washington Mystics on Sunday. Before that victory, the Mercury lost two consecutive games — to the Mystics on July 30 and the Connecticut Sun on Aug. 1. Since the Mystics and Sun are the top two teams in the standings, this isn’t a bad position for Phoenix to be in.

In tonight’s other WNBA action

The Washington Mystics (15-7) kick off tonight’s triple-header against the Indiana Fever (8-15) at 7 p.m. ET. Having won six of its last seven games, Washington will be heavy favorites against Indiana, who come into tonight’s game on a two-game winning streak.

The Seattle Storm (12-11) will host the Dallas Wings (6-16) at 10 p.m. ET. Seattle comes into the game on a three-game losing streak while Dallas lost seven of its last eight games. Expect the Wings to put up a valiant effort against a slumping Storm team, but Seattle should come out on top tonight.

Game information

Washington Mystics (15-7) vs. Indiana Fever (8-15)

When: Thursday, Aug. 8, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Entertainment and Sports Arena, Washington, DC

How to watch: CBS Sports Network, Monumental

Keys to the matchup: The Mystics are favored to win. But Kelsey Mitchell broke out of a recent slump, scoring 20 points and dishing 9 assists in the Fever’s win against the Minnesota Lynx on Aug. 3. If she can build on that tonight, the Fever will have a shot to pull off the upset.

Los Angeles Sparks (13-8) vs. Phoenix Mercury (11-10)

When: Thursday, Aug. 8, at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

How to watch: ESPN2, NBA TV Canada

Keys to the matchup: Griner has scored in double digits in all but two of Phoenix’s games this season. But the Sparks’ frontcourt will pose a tough challenge for Griner’s offense. A big performance from Griner could still give Phoenix the edge.

Seattle Storm (12-11) vs. Dallas Wings (6-16)

When: Thursday, Aug. 8, at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Angel of the Winds Arena, Everett, WA

How to watch: WatchESPN, WNBA League Pass, JOETV

Keys to the matchup: Arike Ogunbowale comes into tonight’s game as Dallas’ leading scorer at 15.0 points per game. However, she is shooting at just a 35.6 percentage rate to get those points. For the Wings to win, Ogunbowale can’t just “get hers” by any means necessary. She will need to shoot at a higher percentage, preferably above 40 percent, to keep the Storm on their toes.