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The Sparks are finally building some momentum

After finally getting back in the win column, and players starting to return, there is optimism building for the Sparks.

Indiana Fever v Los Angeles Sparks Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

After racking up a pair of wins and with other reasons for optimism beginning to emerge, the Sparks have finally found some momentum to build off of as they head into a pivotal stretch of their season.

In what is shaping up to be one of the most successful weeks of their season, let’s take a look at a few highlights and then look ahead to what’s awaiting the team on the horizon.

O Canada!

Amidst an eight-game losing streak and with their playoff hopes dwindling with each defeat, Jordin Canada breathed life back into the Sparks with an electrifying performance on Tuesday night.

She not only had a double-double with 20 points and 10 assists against the Indiana Fever, but drilled a critical game-winning three over Erica Wheeler with 3.2 seconds left in the game.

It was a momentous shot that originally wasn't even supposed to belong to Canada, but rather, Nneka Ogwumike.

“The play was to get it to Nneka,” Canada told the media following the contest. “I saw that she was being denied by Boston, so I just tried to get it in and make a play...I wanted to get to the rim, but I was confident in my shot all night and thankfully it went in.”

While Canada’s shot will be the lasting image from the game, it was the Sparks’ final defensive possession that helped seal the win that potentially helps swing some momentum back in Los Angeles’ way.

“As they set up, you can see they were running one of their standard and typical sidelines out-of-bounds plays that we had scouted,” Curt Miller said postgame. “So I thought we defended it as well as possible...Jordin and Azurá stayed in that play and made that difficult on Kelsey to get that last shot off.”

Beyond Canada’s big night, the Sparks also got a huge performance from Ogwumike. Her 30 points on Tuesday night was not only a team-high, but a season-high for the WNBA All-Star.

Ogwumike was also assigned to rookie sensation, Aliyah Boston, who looked every bit like a 21-year-old against the veteran. Boston finished with just nine points on 3-9 shooting in a rare pedestrian game from the South Carolina alumni. Canada may have sealed the win, but the team doesn’t stay in the game without Ogwumike’s outing.

The importance of this win can not be overstated. After losing eight straight, L.A. found themselves on the outside looking in for a playoff spot. And with only 17 games left, they’ll need to rack up as many victories as possible to make a late push into the postseason.

Team is (almost) healthy

Despite some glimmers of hope, the Sparks are still not at full strength. Fortunately, it appears there may be a light at the end of the team’s injury-riddled tunnel.

Layshia Clarendon is back starting and playing over 23 minutes a night since the break. Even if she is not in mid-season form, Clarendon has been a positive contributor and has proved she belongs in the starting lineup.

Karlie Samuelson also made her return on Thursday, playing 20 minutes against the Fever.

The team is still waiting on Lexie Brown after she missed Thursday’s rematch against Indiana with a non-COVID illness.

Once Brown is back permanently, Miller will finally have all his key rotation players available. With both key shooters back, we could see L.A. playing up to their potential like we did during the first couple of weeks of the season.

Looking Ahead

Despite all the adversity, losses and injuries, a playoff berth is still within reach for the Sparks. As of this article, they sit just a half-game behind Chicago for the eighth and final seed.

However, if they hope to climb up the standings, they will have to do so against a grueling remaining schedule.

This weekend the Sparks kick off a two-game series against the New York Liberty and then another two-game series versus the Washington Mystics. Both teams currently are above .500 with New York being serious title contenders and looking as good as advertised when they were deemed a superteam after their off-season acquisitions.

If the Sparks want to gain ground and move out of the bottom of the playoff bracket, they’ll have to beat quality teams to do so as they enter the final full month of action. Their record may not be reflective of the talent on the roster, but the time to prove that is now.

You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.

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