Indiana (7-12) at Phoenix (11-8)
When: Wednesday, July 19th 2017
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Time: 3:30 ET | TV: Twitter
Opening Odds: Phoenix -5.5/157.5
The Phoenix Mercury will try and snap a two-game losing streak without their star center Brittney Griner when they host the struggling Indiana Fever on Wednesday afternoon. The Fever have lost five consecutive games and are the second-lowest scoring team in the WNBA at 76.8 points per game. They have failed to reach 70 points three times during their current skid, including an 80-62 loss at the Los Angeles Sparks on Monday night. The Fever have dropped to 2.5 games behind Dallas for the eighth and final playoff spot. They have four players averaging double-figure points, led by forward Candice Dupree at 13.9. She also averages a team-high 5.5 rebounds for the Fever. Dupree is in her first season with Indiana after seven seasons with the Mercury, who sent her to the Fever in a three-way trade in the offseason. Not only do the Fever have trouble scoring, they are the 10th ranked defense out of 12 teams in the league also allowing 84.1 points a game.
Griner, who is the leading scorer and shot-blocker in the league, suffered a left knee bone bruise and a right ankle sprain during Friday night’s home loss to league-leading Minnesota. The Lynx also beat the Mercury in St. Paul two days later for a home-and-home sweep. Indiana won’t miss seeing Griner, who posted a total of 70 points and 19 rebounds in two games against the Fever this season, both victories for the Mercury. Griner is expected to miss three to four weeks, but be back in time for the playoffs. Diana Taurasi, who will be an All-Star starter for the West this weekend, did not travel to Minnesota in order to rest. She is eighth in the league in scoring at 17.9 points per game and is the WNBA’s career scoring leader. The Mercury are currently third in the Western Conference, five back of Minnesota and three behind second place Los Angeles. Phoenix will open the second half of the season next week with road games in Atlanta and Chicago.
Even though Griner is out, the Mercury still have enough to beat this struggling Indiana squad. The Fever have failed to cover the spread in five straight games, while the Mercury have been great following a straight-up loss (5-1-1 last seven). I’ll lay the points.
Pick: Mercury -7
HEAD TO HEAD