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Recap: Allisha Gray closes out depleted Sparks for another impressive Dream win

Allisha Gray took over late and the Atlanta Dream once again bullied the injury-plagued Los Angeles Sparks.

Los Angeles Sparks v Atlanta Dream
Rhyne Howard (left) starred for the Dream on Sunday. Allisha Gray (right) starred for them on Wednesday.
Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Dream always having an answer for the Los Angeles Sparks on Wednesday night was epitomized when Jordin Canada made AD Durr FALL OVER with a fake-out dribble only to be blocked by Haley Jones at the rim, leading to an Allisha Gray transition layup on the other end that made it 79-58 Atlanta with 7:38 to go.

It was part of an 8-0 Gray run that opened the fourth. She had converted on a 3-point play at 9:14 and made a right-wing three at 8:50. After the Sparks cut it 12 at 5:38, she answered with a pull-up mid-range make that pushed it back to 14. With 3:32 to go, she picked up her sixth assist on a Danielle Robinson layup that made it a 13-point Dream lead. Atlanta held on for the 90-79 victory at Arena in Los Angeles. It moved up to .500 (8-8) and into fifth place in the WNBA.

Gray finished with a game-high 23 points to go along with four rebounds and six assists. She was 8-of-14 from the field and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.

The Dream were following up their 112-84 win over the Sparks on Sunday in Atlanta. The 112 points marked a franchise record for a single game and Rhyne Howard scored a career-high 43 points in that victory.

Wednesday night’s win was just as dominant at times even though it was in LA.

Of course, keep in mind that the Sparks (7-11) were missing Lexie Brown, Chiney Ogwumike and Layshia Clarendon in both contests. They were missing Jordin Canada as well on Sunday. Canada returned on Wednesday, but Karlie Samuelson missed the entire second half with an injury.

Read more about LA’s injury situation in Edwin Garcia’s Wednesday Sparks update:

Howard followed up her 6-of-12 performance from three on Sunday by going 5-of-9 on Wednesday. She seemed content with doing all her damage from distance as she didn’t attempt any 2-pointers and finished with 15 points, five boards and six helpers.

Gray’s fellow Dream All-Star, Cheyenne Parker, was good for 14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Robinson added seven points and six helpers to the winning cause while Nia Coffey chipped in with nine points and six boards.

Nneka Ogwumike posted 19 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in defeat. Teammate Azurá Stevens reached double-figure scoring for the third straight game, notching a season-high 16 points to go along with 12 boards and two rejections. Canada managed 13 points and dished out a game-high seven helpers.

The Dream went on a key 13-0 run from 4:15 in the third to 1:37 in the third, building a 69-51 lead. It seemed like the game might have been over after that, but the Sparks cut it to a manageable 13 with a 7-2 run that closed the third.

The 13-0 run saw Gray convert on a 3-point play and make three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt.

Stevens opened the second half’s scoring with a layup and Jasmine Thomas followed with a three that cut LA’s deficit to 53-45. Howard would answer with a three to push the Dream’s lead back to 11, but then Stevens went on a 6-0 individual run (three inside scores), cutting it to 56-51.

Jones scored six of the Dream’s first 12 points of the second for her only six points of the contest. Her inside bucket at the 7:42 mark made it a 17-point Atlanta lead. An N. Ogwumike straightaway three followed by a Stevens inside make later comprised a 5-0 LA run that cut it to nine with 4:41 remaining before the break. A Gray three at 1:15 pushed it back to a 14-point lead for the Dream, who led 53-40 at halftime.

Atlanta went on a 10-2 run to build a 25-11 lead at the 1:20 mark of the first. Gray, Parker, Robinson, Naz Hillmon and Monique Billings scored on the run. Howard later made her third three of the contest to make it 28-14. The Dream would lead 29-16 after one.

Howard remained hot after her 43-point game on Sunday with two made threes on two attempts in the first 3:50 of the contest. She opened the game’s scoring with a catch-and-shoot contested trey. The Sparks then went on a 5-0 run, but Atlanta answered with a 12-0 run to go up 15-5. Coffey made two threes on the run and Howard made her other of the first 3:50.

Both teams shot under 70 percent from the free throw line.