Lynx-Sparks Preview

Perhaps returning home to Staples Center will be what the Los Angeles Sparks need to halt their current rough patch.

The Sparks can avoid a third consecutive defeat overall by extending their home winning streak to nine games Tuesday night against the Minnesota Lynx.

From July 12-Aug. 11, Los Angeles (15-10) went 8-1 and believed it could sneak into one of the top two spots in the WNBA standings. While the playoffs are a foregone conclusion for the Sparks, they currently sit fourth in the league -- which is important considering that would currently give them a bye into the second round of the playoffs -- after dropping back-to-back games at Dallas and Chicago last week.

L.A. trailed 25-18 after one quarter and was down by as many as 18 in the 91-81 loss to the Sky. Chelsea Gray had 25 points, but the Sparks went 4 of 17 from 3-point range in the defeat.

"Obviously, we need to start better," Los Angeles star Candace Parker, who has totaled nine points in the last two games, said. "I think to some extent we need to come out aggressive. That's something we got to discuss and talk about."

The good news for the Sparks is that they'll get the opportunity to do that over the next three games at home. Los Angeles is 9-2 at home, where it last lost on June 18.

Minnesota (13-14), meanwhile, is making its first of two visits to Los Angeles in these final weeks of the regular season. The Lynx also will be looking to avoid a third consecutive defeat after falling 82-74 at Seattle on Sunday.

Odyssey Sims scored 18 of her season-high 30 points in the third quarter, but Minnesota trailed by as many as 15 points and never led in the contest. Sims has averaged 19.3 points on 59.6 percent shooting over the last four games.

She went 3 of 12 from the floor and finished with 11, though, in Minnesota's 89-85 home loss to the Sparks on June 8.

Gray scored 21 in that victory over the Lynx and is averaging 24.3 points on 47.3 percent shooting in the last three games. Teammate Riquna Williams had 25 points at Minnesota in June and is slated to complete the last of her 10-game suspension for domestic violence on Tuesday.
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