The Atlanta Dream's four-game road trip mercifully comes to an end on Sunday against the Chicago Sky. Atlanta has dropped four straight overall, and all three-games on the trip.
Even the return of head coach Michael Cooper hasn't been enough to spark the Dream. Cooper sat out the first game of the trip in Phoenix but has been on the sidelines for the last two. He told FullCourt.com's Sue Favor that his team has lost its edge on the defensive end of the floor and that is the root of their struggles.
"Defense - that's the first and foremost problem, when you don't play defense," Cooper said. "Prior to my illness, we were a good defensive team, and then a lot of games came upon us that didn't allow us to practice, and I think that has a little to do with it. But when you don't take ownership on defense and allow big leads, it's going to cause some problems."
The Dream has dropped to second in defensive rating after holding down the top spot for much of the season. They have dropped all the way to ninth in opponent's points per game allowing 78.4 per game. They are currently sixth in the league allowing opponents to shoot 43 percent from the field.
When they were going good, Atlanta's defense fueled its offense but lately that offense has sputtered. The Dream haven't cracked 40 percent shooting in any game during the road trip.
Atlanta and Chicago have split four meetings this season. The Sky have won three of four since Elena Delle-Donne returned to action after missing a month due a flare up of lyme disease. Chicago fell to the Lynx 74-64 on Thursday and enter Sunday tied for the fourth East with the Indiana Fever.
A loss by the Washington Mystics in Connecticut on Sunday combined with an Atlanta win would clinch the top seed in the East for the Dream. Atlanta has seen their advantage over the rest of the conference slip to just two full games with four left to play.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, August 10, 6 p.m. ET
Location: AllState Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
TV: NBA TV
Streaming: NBA Live Access