Atlanta Dream vs. Phoenix Mercury: WNBA prediction, TV channel, live stream, watch online via CBS Sports Network

The jam-packed five-game slate on Friday night will conclude out in the desert when the Atlanta Dream travel to take on the Phoenix Mercury. 

Losers of 10 in a row, the Dream have been the league's most disappointing team this season, and sit in last place at 5-20 -- a pitiful record even considering Angel McCoughtry's absence. After coming up just one game short of the Finals last season, they'll now be lottery-bound. 

As for the Mercury, it's only due to the Dream's nightmarish season that they aren't the most disappointing team. To be fair, they have been without Diana Taurasi for most of the season, but clinging to a playoff spot at 11-13 is still not where they expected to be.

How to watch Atlanta Dream at Phoenix Mercury

Storylines

Dream: The Dream pushed the Mystics to five games in the semi-finals last season, and even though Angel McCoughtry was set to miss much of the season, everyone expected them to once again make some noise in the playoffs. They had an elite defense last season that made them a formidable opponent, and there was little reason to expect that to change in this campaign. It has, however, and in a major way. It was an absolute nightmare early in the season, and has once again been terrible during their current 10-game losing streak. Entering Friday's action, their defense is 10th in the league, ahead of only the Fever and Liberty by a slight margin. Making matters worse, is their offense, which wasn't expected to be great, has been historically bad. 

Mercury: Like the Dream, the Mercury also fell one game short of the Finals last season, losing to the Storm in Game 5 of their epic semi-final series. And like the Dream, they were expected to contend once again this season, even with Diana Taurasi expected to miss the first half of the season after back surgery. Taurasi has only played one game so far, however, and the Mercury have dealt with all sorts of other injuries. As a result, they've never gotten on track this season, alternating between short losing and winning streaks. At the moment, they're 11-13, hanging on to the eighth and final playoff spot. But they'll be shorthanded on Friday night due to Brittney Griner's suspension for her involvement in a brawl with the Wings last weekend. 

Game prediction, pick

The Dream have been a disaster this season, but the Mercury haven't been much better, and are also without both Griner and Taurasi for this game. That makes it a difficult one to pick. Even shorthanded, the Mercury are at home, so they'll be slight favorites. However, the Dream may be the smart play here, as they're coming off a strong performance against the Aces and may have some positive momentum. 

Pick: Dream 76, Mercury 72

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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