Sparks-Mercury Preview

With virtually nothing left to play for in the regular season, the Phoenix Mercury could choose to limit players' minutes this weekend or sit at least a couple of them out.

The Los Angeles Sparks started resting up for the playoffs in their latest game, and it's unclear if Candace Parker will sit out again Friday night at Phoenix.

The Mercury (19-13) are guaranteed the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference for their title defense and home-court advantage in their first-round matchup with Tulsa. They'll close out their schedule Sunday on the road against the Shock.

Los Angeles is the No. 4 seed and will open the postseason at Minnesota next Friday.

The Sparks (14-19) secured their league-best 15th playoff berth in 17 seasons with a 92-73 victory over Tulsa on Sunday. Parker paced her team with a season-high 33 points and career-best five 3-pointers.

Los Angeles then kept Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and Alana Beard on the bench for a 90-60 loss in Atlanta three days later. The Sparks had won six of seven.

Parker had 26 points and 10 rebounds in her only matchup with Phoenix in her self-imposed abbreviated season, a 78-68 road win Aug. 21. The Sparks had lost in each of their previous three visits to US Airways Center, including last season's playoff opener.

Los Angeles has taken both meetings since falling 94-91 in overtime July 5 on Leilani Mitchell's 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left.

The Mercury have won their two games this month by a combined 50 points, blowing out an eliminated San Antonio team 82-52 on the road Saturday. Brittney Griner led the way with 22 points and shot 8 of 9.

Griner had 20 points in the Aug. 21 matchup, but the star center hit 40.0 percent of her shots in the first two meetings, far lower than her league-best mark of 57.0.

Ogwumike sat out that game because of concussion-like symptoms. She totaled 43 points in the first two matchups, scoring 26 to go with a season-high 19 rebounds July 5.

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