The Atlanta Dream's entire season comes down to Sunday's game as they face elimination in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Chicago Sky. Atlanta lost Game 1 and home court advantage with an 80-77 loss at Philips Arena on Friday.
The Dream haven't been a good road team this season going 6-11 and are currently in the midst of a five-game losing streak. Atlanta has dropped four straight contests in Chicago and hasn't won there since the 2012 season.
Don't expect the Dream to go down without a fight though. Michael Cooper said as much during his press conference following Game 1. Cooper said that the pressure was now on the Sky as they have to try and close out what should be a desperate Atlanta team.
Cooper also promised some adjustments, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. The Dream struggled to defend Chicago's heavy pick and roll scheme in the second half and allowed the Sky to shoot 58 percent from the field. Atlanta devoted a lot of defensive attention to Sky center Sylvia Fowles and Chicago did a good job of playing off of that.
Elena Dell Donne took advantage of that extra space and finished with a team-high 21 points while going 9-16 from the field. Friday's game was the first start for Delle Donne since missing 17 games due to a flare up of Lyme Disease.
Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry battled her way to a 24 point performance but was just 8-22 from the field and struggled for a long portion of the game. The Dream need her locked in and efficient from the outset if they hope to pull off a Game 2 victory.
Both Cooper and Pokey Chatman referenced the game as being like a chess match following Game 1. Atlanta and Chicago have now played each other six times this season and it is unlikely that either has many more surprises left for the other. It comes down to which team can execute their game plan the best and which superstar player can rise to the moment when their team needs it the most.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, August 24, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois