Sparks drop 4th straight home game 78-76

Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker #3 in traffic during the Indiana Fever vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on July 1, 2018. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Los Angeles, CA-  The Los Angeles Sparks lost a close one to the Indiana Fever 78-76 Friday night at Staples Center. Friday’s win for the Fever ends a 5 game losing skid.

Los Angeles Candace Parker led all scores with 24 points, also tacking on 12 rebounds. Teammate Jantel Lavender added 23 points but it wasn’t enough for the Sparks.

“Obviously our team has to play with a purpose, and down the stretch we want to go to certain people,” said Lavender, “With my scoring in the first half I think that I can keep us in the game, but I guess down the line we want to have the game in Candace’s
hands and Chelsea’s hands.”

Candice Dupree and Cappie Pondexter led the Fever with 16 points each. Natalie Achonwa chipped in with 15 points and 9 rebounds.

“Cappie came in and had a tremendous game. She did what Cappie does, so we weren’t surprised by anything,” said Alana Beard, “She’s in a system now where she is able to flow, and she’s playing the game that she likes to play.”

The Sparks started the 4th quarter trailing 66-54. After two back-to-back layups for Los Angeles, the Sparks found themselves down just 4 with 5:08 left in the game. The Fever extended its lead to 77-70 with 2 minutes remaining.

A Parker layup and a Chelsea Gray jump shot brought the Sparks within 3 points with 27 seconds to go. Los Angeles had one last chance to tie the game but an Essence Carson jump shot was no good and the Fever were able to hold on.

“Obviously when you’ve struggled the way we’ve struggled all year, it’s nice to get any win,” said Fever coach Pokey Chatman, “We didn’t quite close it out in the fashion that left anything to be desired, and it was a nail-biter at the end but overall, we handled their runs.”

Unlike most of their contests, the Sparks got rolling early and led 23-15 after the first quarter. The fever battled back and hung with the Sparks the remainder of the first half and went into halftime trailing 40-37.

The Sparks hit the road for a matchup with the Chicago Sky on Sunday.

Los Angeles has lost 4 straight games at home. Its next opportunity to end that streak is Tuesday night when Atlanta Dream comes into town.