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WATCH AND LISTEN
Posted Sep 13 2008 6:10PM
The Seattle Storm and Los Angeles Sparks haven't seen each other since mid-July. They'll meet again in the final game of the regular season, but that may be just the beginning.
The Storm will try to improve their shaky road record on Sunday when they meet the Sparks in a potential first-round playoff preview.
Seattle (22-11) has been the league's best team at home, finishing with 16 wins in 17 games at KeyArena. But when the Storm have ventured out on the road, things haven't gone nearly as well, as they're just 6-10 away from home.
They'll start the playoffs on the road as well. Despite having home-court advantage in the first round, Seattle will play its postseason opener at the site of the lower seed before returning home for the second and potentially third game of the series.
Yet the Storm may not have to go anywhere after their regular-season finale. A win by the Sparks (19-14) on Sunday means the two teams will meet again in the Western Conference semifinals.
Seattle closed its home slate on Friday, beating Atlanta 77-72 despite resting starters Sue Bird, Yolanda Griffith, Swin Cash and Sheryl Swoopes. Camille Little scored a career-high 21 and little-used reserve Katie Geralds had a career-high 20 in the victory.
"I want to be in as good of shape as we can be going into the playoffs," coach Brian Agler said. "And that's a combination of getting people rested but not rusty."
Los Angeles also faced the Dream in its latest game, but that visit from the league's worst team didn't go nearly as well as Seattle's did. The Sparks still had a chance of earning home-court advantage when Atlanta visited Staples Center on Thursday, but blew a fourth-quarter lead and lost 83-72.
"We were very sluggish," said Candace Parker, who had 23 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks to lead Los Angeles. "When we play bad, it's bad. But when we play good, we're capable of being in the hunt for the championship."
The Storm and Sparks have split two meetings, with both teams looking strong in home-court victories. Parker had 22 points and 11 rebounds in a 76-62 win on June 24.
The league's leading rebounder (9.7 per game), Parker was held to 14 points and six boards in a 70-52 loss at Seattle on July 12. Bird had 18 in the win for the Storm.