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Phoenix Mercury fall just short at home to Los Angeles Sparks

Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner (42) is fouled by Indiana Fever's Erica Wheeler (17) during the second half of a first round WNBA playoff basketball game, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

PHOENIX (AP) — Chelsea Gray scored 24 points and tied her career high with eight assists to help the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Phoenix Mercury 89-87 on Saturday night.

Candace Parker finished with 14 points, Nneka Ogwumike added 13, and Essence Carson and Alana Beard scored 12 apiece for Los Angeles (5-3). Beard added a late steal that helped seal the win.

Brittney Griner’s short hook shot pulled the Mercury (5-4) within two points with 2:03 to play and neither team scored again until Parker hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 47 seconds left to make it 87-82. Diana Taurasi answered with two free throws but, after Gray missed a shot on the other end, Beard stole a pass from Leilani Mitchell and was immediately fouled by Taurasi.

Beard made the second of two free throws to give the Sparks an 88-84 lead. Taurasi hit a quick 3 to make it a one-point game but, after Gray made 1 of 2 free throws, Taurasi’s potential winning shot from just inside half court fell short as time expired.

Taurasi led Phoenix with 27 points, including six 3-pointers. Griner added 21 points and nine rebounds.

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