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Sparks-Dream Preview

Jun 26, 2010 - 8:41 PM By ALAN FERGUSON STATS Writer

Los Angeles (3-9) at Atlanta (10-4), 3:00 p.m. EDT

To wrap up an unbeaten May, the Atlanta Dream blew out the Los Angeles Sparks with one of their best offensive performances of the season. Without Candace Parker, the game could have been even more lopsided.

The Sparks won't have Parker to help out this time against the Dream.

Atlanta will try to take advantage of its short-handed opponent for its fourth win in five games Sunday against Los Angeles, which looks to avoid a third straight defeat since losing its star player for the season.

The Dream (10-4) jumped to a 6-0 start this season and capped that run with a 101-82 win in Los Angeles on May 30.

Angel McCoughtry matched a season high with 32 points and three other Atlanta players contributed at least 14 during a 53.7-percent shooting performance. Parker had a season-best 33 points and 12 rebounds, but the only other Sparks player to score in double figures was Tina Thompson with 26.

Parker, though, is unavailable after dislocating her left shoulder during a win over Minnesota on June 13. The Sparks also will be without veteran reserve Betty Lennox, the Dream's leading scorer in their inaugural 2008 campaign, for at least four weeks because of left knee surgery.

Without those two players, Los Angeles (3-9) recorded its season low for points in Thursday's 68-53 loss at Washington. Kristi Toliver led the Sparks with 11 points off the bench during the 35.8-percent shooting performance, and Noelle Quinn was the only starter in double figures.

Despite their slow start, the Sparks remain in the playoff hunt because only league-best Seattle is above .500 in the Western Conference.

"If we can put together two wins, we could be fighting for second place," forward DeLisha Milton-Jones said. "That's what's crazy about this whole scenario."

The Dream's latest win, 96-90 over Tulsa on Wednesday in the opener of a season-high six-game homestand, put them atop the East. McCoughtry had 29 points, including six in a row late in the fourth quarter, to help Atlanta score at least 90 for the fourth straight time.

"I think we have a bull's-eye on us," McCoughtry said. "Everybody is going to be targeting us because we are in first place. People are going to play their best games against us because we are No. 1 in the East. We've just got to try to maintain our home-court advantage."

Atlanta will try to improve to 5-1 at Philips Arena while forcing Los Angeles to remain the league's only team without a road victory.

The Sparks, 0-6 away from home, have won their only two previous trips to Atlanta but trail the overall series 3-2.

  • 5
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Sparks 81, Dream 89  FinalJun 28 8:38 AM

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