(East Los Angeles, CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: The Sparks returned home to confront the Atlanta Dream on this weekday 7:00 pm game at Crypto.com Arena. Head Coach, Curt Miller, still plagued with a rash of injured players, who were responsible for a great start to the season, has seen what the team has been through during the many ups and downs since those players are no longer the early contributors they were. This Game Day theme was a “Salute to our Hometown Heroes.”
Despite continuing to be declared out of these games due to the injuries of Layshia Clarendon, Chiney Ogwumike, Lexie Brown, and Nia Clouden, the Sparks have been playing to the best of their abilities. They came into this game with a record of (7-10) while the Atlanta Dream showed a record of (7-8) good for 7th place in the overall standings.
[Look Who’s Here Cam]: NBA players, Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks and Grant Williams, Dallas Mavericks
[1st Qtr]: The Sparks were stone cold in field goal shooting percentage, hitting only 4 of 15. Meanwhile, the Dream were hot and landed several triples on a consistent basis. They also outran the Sparks and converted many uncontested lay-ups and a few perimeter shots to show their scoring depth. The Sparks offense was erratic, but punctuated with baskets by reserve, #23/Azurá Stevens, starting point guard, #21/Jordin Canada, and the always reliable, #30/Nneka Ogwumike. The score at the end of the opening stanza was (29-16) Dream.
[2nd Qtr]: The Dream stayed out in front with their 10+ point lead for most of the period. but the Sparks gathered some momentum towards the end, and made a decent run to match the Dream’s scoring output for the period. However, it was the 13 point scoring advantage and point differential in the first quarter that was still there to start the 2nd half.
[HALF TIME SCORE]: Atlanta Dream 53 Sparks 40
[3rd Qtr]: The Sparks came out of their locker room, nearly looking like their old selves, as they caught fire to make a big run to start the period, (10-2), which ignited the comeback for the Sparks. They cut the lead to 5 at (56-51) after Stevens scored in the key on “back-to-back” short post ups, forcing the Dream to call a “momentum-stopping” time-out with (4:59) left. But upon resumption of play, the Sparks’ costly turnovers once again hurt their chances of cutting the lead even further as the Dream capitalized with scores after each one. The Dream also rallied back up on some good “streak” shooting by their center and forwards and stretched the lead up to (21) points with just (2:00) minutes left. The score was (71-58) in favor of the Dream at end of period.
[4th Qtr]: The Dream, who were way out in front, then put it on cruise control as they never relented or failed to take advantage of their running game by scoring on numerous fast breaks, power low-post moves, and the dreaded dagger-killing type 3-pointers. Coach Curt Miller had no choice but to call time-outs to stop further scoring opportunities to break the high octane offensive rhythm of the Dream.
[FINAL SCORE]: Atlanta Dream 90 Sparks 79
[OF SIGNIFICANCE]: The lack of a seasoned reserve squad or bench players to adequately step up and produce both offensively and defensively for a full (40:00) minute ball game, has to have Head Coach Curt Miller wondering when he will get all of his starters back on the court to match their great start of the season.
[NEXT UP]: The Sparks played a road game last Saturday vs. Phoenix Mercury, and lost by a score of (78-72). They return home on Wednesday, 7/11, with their overall record of (7-12), to host the Las Vegas Aces,(18-2), currently in 1st place.