Los Angeles Sparks

Preview: Sparks face the Washington Mystics to end a three-game homestand

Los Angeles end their three-game homestand against the league-leading Washington Mystics on Sunday and will look to go undefeated.

The Sparks are on a two-game winning streak after defeating the Chicago Sky and Las Vegas Aces. With health mostly back on their side, the Sparks have been locked in on the floor.

It will be a task for the Sparks to compete against the Washington Mystics as the Mystics have been on a roll and imposed their will against opponents on both ends of the floor.

The Mystics come to Los Angeles on a five-game winning streak of their own, sitting on top of the league standings with a 9-3 record. As a whole, the Mystics have been balanced with their starters and bench contributing on both ends of the floor.

Washington had six players in double figures following their blowout 102-59 win against the Connecticut Sun. They shot 53.1 percent from the field while holding the Sun to 30.1 percent from the field during that win.

Washington’s game against the Las Vegas Aces on Friday was postponed at halftime due to an earthquake that occurred during game-play. Washington held a double-digit 51-36 lead over the Aces.

Washington and Los Angeles last met on June 19th when the Mystics blew the Sparks out in Candace Parker’s return. Ariel Atkins led Washington during that game with 22 points while Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added a career-high 17 points off the bench.

The Mystics had their way with the Sparks in that meeting as their defensive pressure halted the Sparks’ efforts. The Mystics never trailed and dominated in each quarter.

The Sparks did not shoot very well in the previous match-up as they shot 28.8 percent from the field. In Parker’s season debut against the Mystics, she shot 1-9 from the field and committed 6 turnovers.

Fast forward to weeks later as both teams are on winning streaks, it should be a different outcome. Parker has decreased her turnovers and has been effective from the field as she has found her rhythm.

Against the Chicago Sky, Parker finished with 12 points on 50 percent shots from the field, six rebounds, three assists, and a steal. Parker did not have any turnovers in the whole game.

There was balanced scoring against the Sky as five players finished in double digits. The Sparks shot 49 percent from the field. The Sparks also held the Sky to 33 percent shooting from the field.

Despite not playing in a week, the Sparks hope to bring that same energy from last Sunday’s game to this matinee.

The Mystics lead the league in scoring, which means it is imperative for the Sparks to get defensive stops, especially in transition.

With Elena Delle Donne’s ability to push the ball and shoot threes or Kristi Toliver’s playmaking ability that helps the Mystics, it will be a challenge for the Sparks to stay in position on defense.

Having patience on the offensive end for the Sparks has helped them in recent games and continuing that against the Mystics will work in their favor. Discipline is also key to having that patience in order to get that right shot.

With having both of the aforementioned characteristics, the Sparks can find ways to attack the Mystics where they are weakest. Holding and moving the ball around for the Sparks will be key so that they force the Mystics to work hard on defense.

Los Angeles will be without Alexis Jones (right knee sprain) and Maria Vadeeva (overseas commitments) in this game.

Los Angeles will play the Washington Mystics at 2:00 p.m. PT on Spectrum Sports Net.

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