The Atlanta Dream enter play on Sunday with a healthy lead in the Eastern Conference but carrying their longest losing streak of the season. They look to get back headed in the right direction on Sunday when they take on the Washington Mystics at the Verizon Center.
Atlanta has lost three straight games for the first time this season and remain without head coach Michael Cooper who is on medical leave after being diagnosed with tongue cancer. Cooper had surgery earlier this week and a full recovery is expected but the Dream will have to figure things out without him for at least a while longer.
The Dream have taken all three matchups with the Mystics this season including a 75-67 win at the Verizon Center in early June. However, this could be a different Washington team this time around as they have won three straight and five of their last six to climb into a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Atlanta of late has had trouble sustaining any type of rhythm. They suffered a close loss to the Liberty before heading into the All-Star Break and then fell in double overtime to the Minnesota Lynx. Atlanta struggled on the defensive end of the floor in Tuesday's loss to the Sky.
Points may not be easy to come by on Sunday especially given Atlanta's recent struggles. Washington is tied for the league lead in points allowed at 75.2 per game. The Dream need to get back to basics and that includes attacking teams in the paint.
Teams have worked hard to limit opportunities for center Erika de Souza but Atlanta needs to find a way to get her going again. De Souza is averaging just eight points per game over her last four and hasn't had more than nine shot attempts in any game over that span. The Dream may have to get creative to find more post touches for her but the hi/lo game with Sancho Lyttle could be a good start.
On the defensive end of the floor, slowing down Ivory Latta will be key to a victory. Latta is averaging 19 points per game since the All-Star break and has scored in double figures in five straight. She is averaging just 11 points per game in the three previous meetings with the Dream this season.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, July 27, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Verizon Center, Washington, DC
TV: NBA TV
Streaming: WNBA Live Access