WNBA BPI predicts Lynx to top Sparks again

The Minnesota Lynx will host the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday for the second time this season. When the teams met July 6 -- a rematch of the 2016 WNBA Finals -- the Lynx won 88-77. According to ESPN's WNBA Basketball Power Index (BPI), Minnesota has a 55 percent chance to beat Los Angeles again. The teams will play once more, on Aug. 27 (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET), which BPI rates as the WNBA's top game of the regular season according to pregame matchup quality.

While BPI predicts the Lynx to beat the Sparks by 4.3 points on a neutral court, Minnesota's defense is less than one point better than that of Los Angeles. In fact, each team's predicted defense is over four points better per game than the average WNBA team. The next-best defense belongs to Connecticut, adding a mere 0.1 point to its predicted scoring margin.

San Antonio determining playoff fates

The San Antonio Stars are riding a three-game win streak into their Thursday meeting with the Chicago Sky. That matches the Stars' win total through their first 24 games of the season. The Stars most recently held off the Seattle Storm in overtime, dropping Seattle's playoff chances to 44 percent.

The playoff hopes of the Stars and Sky are in jeopardy. A loss would virtually eliminate San Antonio from playoff contention for the third straight year. If Chicago loses, the Sky's postseason chances would drop from 43 percent to 28 percent. A win would bump Chicago to 11-16, giving the Sky a 56 percent chance to make the playoffs -- with critical games still left against the Storm (10-15) and the Wings (13-14).

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