BEAT L.A.
BEAT L.A.
BEAT L.A.

Team sports are broken down into two seasons from the regular season to the playoffs and the reset button has been hit for the WNBA -- Playoff Time. The Phoenix Mercury wrapped what was one of the most historic seasons in WNBA history winning 29 games, including 16 in a row, and winning the last 15 straight games at home.

This team is primed and poised to make a run in this second season that is equally historic with the end goal of hanging up a third banner from the rafters at U.S. Airways Center.

Up first for the Mercury is an all to familiar foe in the Los Angeles Sparks. Last season the two teams met in the first round of the playoffs where the Mercury advanced in a thrilling three game series won at the last second on a Brittney Griner bucket. That was last year. That was a Mercury team that was still trying to figure each other out as individuals. That was not this team.

All season they were trying to figure each other out and this season they have found that formula, especially against the Sparks.

This year the Mercury dominated the Sparks. There is no other way around that when you look at the five wins (and no losses) by an average 11.6 points per win. No losses. Dominance. But, when the second season begins that gets thrown out the window to an extent as every game becomes a micro-season in and of itself. Pressure is heightened and the focus has to be at an elite level.

The Sparks are a very talented team, but they have not been a complete team all season as Candace Parker missed two games against the Mercury and Nneka Ogwumike missed one herself. Typically the Sparks have the advantage in the paint with that duo, despite the redundancies and limitations discussed on this weeks podcast, but against the Mercury that advantage gets neutered.

Not just this series, but the playoffs as a whole are going to determine a lot for this Sparks team.

The Mercury are building what might be a 3-5 year window dynasty with DeWanna Bonner, Candice Dupree, and Diana Taurasi all signing extensions in recent years and the youth of Brittney Griner enfusing the team together into greatness. They have their coach, their team, and organizational structure from top-to-bottom now.

All of that cannot be said about the Sparks who have to deal with Candace Parker's free-agency this fall/winter, a potential change in the coaching staff, and a roster filled with talent, but talent that is not clicking at the highest level possible. Despite the fact that free-agents rarely leave home in the WNBA because the money is not like it is in the NBA, she could leave. Parker has not won in the shadow of Lisa Leslie and could find greener pastures, or at least more successful pastures, elsewhere.

This series could be the rise of the Mercury Dynasty and the fall of the Parker Era in Los Angeles.

X-Factor

For the Sparks it comes down to jump-shots... Either making them or reducing the amount of long two's that they take because of Griner inside. Those jump-shots are fool's gold after a few go down they are playing into the Mercury's defensive strategies as a whole. Jump-shots.

That player is Bonner for the Mercury. After you get past the Griner-Parker, Candice Dupree-Ogwumike, Taurasi-Tolliver match-ups the game is wide open for Bonner to play free safety on defense and be a weapon on the offensive end. Her efficiency has been admirable this year on the offensive end taking less difficult shots and scoring smarter all-around.

Stats

This season the Mercury outscored the Sparks 85.4 - 73.8 and out-rebounded them 35.2 - 33.6 on the season per game. The turnovers were dead even. Looking at the match-ups in the season series here is how the teams stacked up against each other in the five games:

PHOENIX MERCURY

STATS

Diana Taurasi 18.8ppg 5.4apg 3.0rpg
Penny Taylor 8.0ppg 3.4apg
DeWanna Bonner 13.6ppg 5.4rpg
Candice Dupree 13.8ppg 7.6rpg
Brittney Griner 15.8ppg 7.2rpg 3.2bpg

LOS ANGELES SPARKS

STATS

Alana Beard 7.2ppg 1.2apg
Kristi Tolliver 12.6ppg 3.6apg
Jantel Lavender 11.2 8.6rpg
Candace Parker 21.3ppg 9.3rpg
Nneka Ogwumike 15.5ppg 7.2rpg

Prediction

With full health the Mercury are too deep, too balanced, and too focused to lose to this Sparks team. Parker and Ogwumike are very talented, but not  a great mix on the court and the Head Coach Sandy Brondello will key in on that. This could (should) be a quick series leading to another trip to the Western Conference Finals and an opportunity to win another Championship.

Mercury in Two (2-0)

Your gameday gear is waiting on eBay.

Phoenix Suns Sunsational Sounds CD

Preceding the seminal Suns banger, "I'm a Suns Fan," was this collection of Phoenix favorites, "Sunsational Sounds." The CD, released in 1996, includes all of your arena favorites, as well as classic Phoenix Suns highlights.  Included is the drafting of Dan Majerle, the 1976 NBA Finals against the Celtics, and of course, Al McCoy. This auction includes the disc only, and can have a place in your 8 disc CD changer in your 1987 Nissan Stanza, complete with Blue Thunder subwoofers, for a twenty dollar bill.

90's Zubaz Phoenix Suns Pants

Vintage-90s-ZUBAZ-Bob-Lanier-PHOENIX-SUNS-Basketball-NBA-Work-Out-GYM-Pants-L-B2

Famed California poet Tupac Shakur once wrote, "all eyez on me." No doubt he was clad in vintage Zubaz pants. How popular was the company? They sold 100 million dollars worth of merchandise in 1991 alone. These pants, of the Phoenix Suns variety, are a size large and show visible wear and fading according to the seller. That, nor the stain on the back, prevented "invtgwetrust" from coming up with the $47 price tag, after shipping.

1993 Phoenix Suns "Best In The West" T-Shirt

For the Suns fan who needs the appropriate shirt to go along with his vintage Zubaz pants, here's a t-shirt featuring the front page of the Tribune following Phoenix's defeat of the Seattle Supersonics in the 1993 Western Conference Finals. The Suns advanced to play the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals, and I choose not to further comment on that series. Pair this with the above pants, and fellow fans will think you came to US Airways Center in a time machine.  35 bucks using buy it now, after shipping, is the damage. That includes no mention of "visible wear, fading, or staining."

1977-78 Tuborg Gold Beer Phoenix Suns Schedule Beer Can

Tuborg-Gold-Beer-1977-78-Home-A-A-Can-Phoenix-Suns-Basketball-Schedule-55B

Commemorate the 1977-78 Suns with this vintage beer can featuring the Suns schedule from that year. This was the 10th NBA season for Phoenix, and it wasn't a terrible one. The Suns finished 49-33 before bowing out to Milwaukee in the first round in a three game series. Paul Westphal and Walter Davis where named All-Stars, and Davis was selected as Rookie of the Year, joining Alvan Adams as the second Sun in three seasons to be honored. The Suns finished second in a Pacific Division that did not have a team finished below .500. The tab is intact, as this beer can has been opened from the bottom, because you will not tolerate the integrity of your vintage NBA schedule beer cans being compromised. Bidding starts at three bucks, another three to ship.

Kevin Johnson Phoenix Suns NBApron

Ok, so as goofy as this item may be, it's perhaps the best buy this week.  Kevin Johnson throwback NBApron, showcasing the short shorts, without actually having to risk a wardrobe malfunction. I originally found this with a $15 price tag, did a little more research, and found out it can be had for less than $10. Obviously, manning the grill at home in this is a no-brainer, but 1000 BSTOS bonus points to the fan who dons this to a game next season. 500 more if there's a sign that ties it all together. Like "Grillin' Grizzlies." Or, "F*** The Lakers."

Assuming that Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns can reach an agreement, the team’s backcourt will be among the best in the NBA. Amin Elhassan of ESPN.com ranked the top backcourts and the Suns...

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The BS of the Suns Podcast will back with more BS than ever next week, this week, the WNBA steps to the front of the room...

The WNBA Playoffs are starting up tonight with the Phoenix Mercury starting their series on Friday against the Los Angeles Sparks. Nate Parham from Swish Appeal joins me to preview the entire first round, talk WNBA Awards, and break it all down.

Suns VP, broadcaster, and basketball Hall of Famer Ann Meyers Drysdale then comes on to talk about all the events in the world of basketball currently including Becky Hammon, the WNBA Playoffs, and the Phoenix Mercury's historic season.

FULL Podcast Here: Mega WNBA Playoff Preview w/Ann Meyers Drysdale and Nate Parham

OR

Nate Parham and I previewing the First Round: WNBA Playoff Preview Kris Habbas and Nate Parham

Ann Meyers Drysdale Interview: Ann Meyers Drysdale Interview

Tune In Link: Click Here

RSS Feed: Click Here

If you don’t believe me that Eric Bledsoe won’t be signed and then traded this summer, take an expert’s word for it. An anonymous general manager told Sporting News’ Sean...

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