Los Angeles Sparks vs. Phoenix Mercury: How to watch the WNBA on CBS Sports Network

Two of the WNBA's original teams will meet on Friday night when the Los Angeles Sparks travel to Arizona to take on the Phoenix Mercury. 

Still playing without Candace Parker, and facing other injuries and absences early in the season, the Sparks have had their ups and downs. Still, they've managed to open the season 3-2, which has them in third place entering Friday's action and bodes well for Parker's return. 

Likewise, the Mercury are still trying to figure things out with one of their key players, Diana Taurasi. The all-time leading scorer underwent offseason back surgery, and likely won't play until July. In her absence, the Mercury have started out 2-3, and are coming off a bit of a surprising loss to the Chicago Sky. 

How to watch Los Angeles Sparks at Phoenix Mercury

Storylines

Sparks: The Sparks have plenty of talent, but much of it is based in their frontcourt, and two of those players -- Candace Parker and Maria Vadeeva -- aren't even playing right now. That's led to some bizarre lineups, as new head coach Derek Fisher tries to figure out a way to get some production from his backcourt, and is the main reason they have one of the worst offenses in the league to start the season. The good news is their defense has stepped up, and helped carry them to a 3-2 start, which has them in a good position for when Parker returns. 

Mercury: The Mercury are also dealing with a significant absence, as WNBA legend Diana Taurasi is still recovering from offseason back surgery. Her return will make things easier for everyone, but the main concern for the Mercury has to be on the defensive side of the ball. Even without Taurasi, they're still boasting one of the top offenses in the league, but they haven't been able to stop anyone. With how easy they can score, they don't have to be an elite defensive team, but they can't be a disaster on that end, which is what they've been to start the season. 

Game prediction, pick

This is a pretty even matchup, and may even swing slightly in the Mercury's favor. They'll have the interior presence to deal with the Sparks' double shot of Ogwumikes, and Los Angeles' sputtering offense shouldn't test the Mercury's poor defense too much. 

Pick: Mercury 82, Sparks 75

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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