Sparks Fall to the Dream in a Nightmare Finish

September 2, 2009

Los Angeles, California -- The Los Angeles Sparks failed to control both their defensive backboard and Atlanta's Iziane Castro Marques down the stretch, and as a result, they lost to the Atlanta Dream by a score of 84-79 Tuesday night at the Staples Center.

Castro Marques scored 12 points during a pivotal two-and-a-half minute span late in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Dream.

She began her late scoring binge with an aggressive drive and midrange jumper off the glass to give Atlanta a 72-69 lead with 2:38 to go in the fourth quarter.

It was at this point that Castro Marques clearly intended to carry the Dream on her back, as she followed that bucket with a pair of back-to-back clutch treys. She would later go 4-for-4 from the free throw line to close out the game for Atlanta. Castro Marques would eventually end up with a game-high 27 points.

Although the loss can largely be attributed to Castro Marques' ability to slice and dice her way through the defense seemingly at will, the Sparks' lack of defensive cohesion certainly made her task that much easier.

The Sparks were led by their high-powered frontline, as center Lisa Leslie scored a team-high 24 points, while her running mate Tina Thompson poured in 19 points on 8-12 shooting.

Candace Parker also chipped in with 15 points and a season-best 14 rebounds, although she later would foul out of the game.

In a season that has been particularly topsy-turvy, Parker looked to have once again re-discovered her groove, as she played a prominent role in a solid Sparks' run during the third quarter.

In fact, the Sparks enjoyed a seven-point advantage at 61-54 when Parker picked up her fourth foul with under a minute to go in the third quarter. What made this dubious call all the more disheartening was that it came immediately after Parker had just sunk a couple of nice floaters and seemed to have found her rhythm.

Parker's 15-point, 14-board performance was her eleventh double-double in 21 games this season, an incredible feat that is made even more impressive considering that Parker gave birth to her daughter less than four months ago.

Nonetheless, despite Parker's efforts on the boards, the Sparks failed to keep Atlanta's bigs off the glass, as the Dream enjoyed a 20-11 advantage in second-chance points.

With the loss, the Sparks dropped to .500 (15-15), but remained in third place in the Western Conference. After going on a season-high six-game win streak, Los Angeles has now lost two out of their last three.

Were the season to end today, the Sparks would draw a first round playoff matchup with the second-seeded Seattle Storm. The teams split their regular season series.

Next up for the Sparks will be a home-and-home against the San Antonio Silver Stars, followed by another home date against the Lynx. The Sparks will then close out the season with a road game against the West-leading Mercury in Phoenix.

Meanwhile, Atlanta improved to 16-14 overall, and strengthened their hold on the second playoff seed in the East.

The Dream will now head up the coast for a Friday night game against the Monarchs, and then will close out the regular season with two of their final three games on the road.

Post Game Notes and Comments

1. Among the announced crowd of 8,756 were celebrities Tyson Chandler, Josh Powell, A.C. Green, and Tommy "Tiny" Lister.

2. The Sparks remain two games ahead of fourth-place San Antonio in the Western Conference standings. In a tight East, Atlanta is a game-and-a-half ahead of Detroit and Washington, and two games in front of Chicago.

3. Although the Sparks outrebounded the Dream 51-48, Atlanta grabbed 12 offensive boards.

4. Castro Marques hit 5 treys, 1 more than the entire Sparks team.

By Kweku Turkson
Staff Reporter for

1 comment:

  1. How did they lose this game with no Holdsclaw in the lineup? There's still time to get things together, but right now i am a lil bit skeptical.


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