LOS ANGELES — The Sparks just can’t catch a break.
L.A. had another injury happen and it was too much for them to make a comeback after a not-so-desirable first quarter as the Dream got the best of them for the second straight game, 90-79.
The Dream made shots early while Los Angeles did not. Atlanta got off to a 15-5 beginning. And it carried on throughout the quarter as the Dream led after one, 29-16.
It was better for L.A. in the second quarter. A couple of threes did cut the deficit to single digits at one point but the Dream just couldn’t stop making shots. Atlanta went into the half with a 53-40 lead.
It seemed like the Sparks got on track early in the second half. Azura Stevens especially got hot as she went on a personal 6-0 run. That cut the deficit to 56-51. But the Dream went on a 13-0 run that gave them their biggest lead at 18. Zia Cooke made a jumper to cut it down to 71-58 entering the fourth.
Too bad that the Dream continued their barrage. Allisha Gray scored the first 8 points of the fourth to bloat the lead to 21. The Sparks still had one run in them, which went 11-2, but Gray made another jumper to shut it down.
While the Sparks did lose by double digits, L.A. did manage to outscore the Dream in the second half. It was the fight by the team that was really endearing. Despite being shorthanded, the Sparks are a plucky bunch.
Curt Miller made note of that after the game.
Jordin Canada was asked what she told the team as the young vet of the team.
And we know Jordin just came back from a shoulder injury. I asked her about that.
I mentioned being hit with more injuries. Karlie Samuelson left the game before halftime as she suffered a foot injury. One of the more consistent players of the team, this loss hurts even more as we all know that the Sparks have been hit massively with injuries and illness. No word yet on how severe the injury is yet.
As said earlier, I did like the fight that the Sparks have. But we’ve gone from maybe the Sparks can make some noise to just having a fight. I really can’t get over how bad these injuries have been to Los Angeles. Do give credit to the Dream, though. They took advantage and they’ve got some badass ballers on that team.
The Dream shot the ball well in the first half (.588). While they shot .394 at the second half, that lead was big enough to hold the Sparks off. They also had 30 assists (Rhyne Howard, Allisha Gray, and Danielle Robinson each had 6 dimes) compared to the Sparks’ 20. That ball movement was deadly.
Allisha Gray scored 23 points to lead the Dream. Rhyne Howard didn’t set the entire city on fire but small fires around the houses were good enough; she had 15 points. Cheyenne Parker had a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards.
The Sparks were led by Nneka Ogwumike with 19 points and 10 assists. Azura Stevens had a run in the third; she ended with 16 points and 12 boards (and five fouls, as she playfully mentioned at the presser). With Karlie Samuelson hurt, the Sparks were down to 8 players by the end of the game. Brutal.
Los Angeles has lost four games straight and is now at 7-11. They go back on the road against the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday. The Mercury have the worst record in the league right now at 3-13. On paper, this might be the game they could stop the streak. But the Sparks are decimated with injuries and Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi are always tough covers. We’ll see what happens as we approach the all-star break.