Phoenix (11-7) at Minnesota (14-2)
When: Sunday, July 16th 2017
Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, MN
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: NBA TV
Opening Odds: Minnesota -15/165
The Phoenix Mercury will battle the Minnesota Lynx for the second time in three days, but will have to do it without their star center, Brittney Griner. The WNBA’s leading scorer at 22.3 points a game, sustained “a left knee bone bruise and a right ankle sprain,” according to the team’s website while playing on Friday in the fourth quarter of the Mercury’s 88-71 home loss to the Lynx. Griner left the game with 8:49 left and finished with 15 points and four rebounds for the Mercury. Angel Robinson, who is expected to replace Griner in the starting lineup, had eight rebounds in her debut, a June 30th loss to Minnesota. Friday’s loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Mercury (11-7), who had not lost since that June 30th matchup with the Lynx. Griner was a non-factor in that meeting, scoring just six points on 3-of-7 shooting. The Mercury sit third in the West, two games behind second place Minnesota. Phoenix will be at home on Wednesday to face Indiana – their final game before the All-Star Break.
Minnesota will have their star enter for Sunday’s contest as Sylvia Fowles is coming off an 18 point, 10 rebound performance in the win over Phoenix on Friday. The Lynx (14-2) bounced back from their second loss of the season – a 100-76 thumping at Chicago that came on the heels of their showdown win over the Los Angeles Sparks, who beat Minnesota in last season’s WNBA Finals. Minnesota holds a two-game lead over the Sparks in the race for the best record in the league. Minnesota has nine straight wins against Phoenix, while covering the spread in 10 of their last 11 meetings. The Lynx are ranked No. 1 in both scoring offense (87.2) and defense (77.4), while being tied with the New York Liberty in rebounding margin per game (4.94). Minnesota will wrap-up the first half of their season on Wednesday when they host Dallas.
This is a lot of points, but the Griner injury is huge for Phoenix, who now must find not only an offensive weapon to replace her, but defensively as well. The Lynx have dominated this series straight-up and against the spread. I’ll lay the 15.
Pick: Lynx -15
HEAD TO HEAD