LOS ANGELES (AP) - Candace Parker and Chiney Ogwumike each had double-doubles and Los Angeles overcame a slow start to beat the last-place Atlanta Dream 70-60 on Tuesday night in a game that put the Sparks in position to earn a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Parker had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Ogwumike 17 and 10. Ogwumike started for her sister Nneka, who was out with an illness that sidelined her for the second half of the team’s last game against Las Vegas.
Chelsea Gray added 15 points.
After trailing by 11 after one quarter, the Sparks rallied in the second quarter, took the lead in the third and held off Atlanta to move a full game ahead of fifth-place Chicago with two games to play.
The Sparks (20-12) have won 12 straight at home, where they play their last two games. Los Angeles coach Derek Fisher became the ninth WNBA head coach to get to 20 wins in their first season. The record is 29 by the Sparks’ Michael Cooper in 2000.
Atlanta shot 55% in the first quarter to 33% for the Sparks but a 7-0 run helped Los Angeles take a brief lead before the Dream took a 35-34 lead into the break. It was 51-45 for the Sparks after three quarters. The teams combined to go 7 of 40 from 3-point range.
Alex Bentley, who did not score in the second half, and Elizabeth Williams each had 15 points for Atlanta (7-25). The Dream are having their worst season since their inaugural season of 2008 (four wins).
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