Candace Parker returned from a wrist injury in last week's game against the Indiana Fever and helped the Los Angeles Sparks keep their win streak going. The Sparks are still on a roll heading into the rematch.
Los Angeles has a chance to move into a tie for the Western Conference lead if it can earn a season high-tying sixth straight victory and fifth in a row over the Fever on Friday night.
Parker scored 17 points in a 74-64 win at Indiana on Aug. 8 after missing three games due to a bone bruise in her right wrist. Jantel Lavender had a team-best 18 points and nine rebounds off the bench for Los Angeles (17-7), which never trailed after building a 19-point lead early in the second quarter.
Parker led the way with 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the Sparks' latest win, 80-76 over East-leading Chicago on Tuesday. She also made seven of 12 shots after going 2 for 11 in an 85-67 victory at New York on Saturday.
"It's getting there," Parker said. "I felt the ball a little bit better today and was able to really follow through on my shot, which is something that has been tough the last couple of weeks."
Lavender reached double figures for the fifth straight game with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting. She's averaging 14.6 - double her season average - during the Sparks' win streak while shooting 59.3 percent.
Parker and Lavender have helped Los Angeles climb within one game of first-place Minnesota in the West. The Lynx host Tulsa on Friday.
Indiana, meanwhile, is one game ahead of New York for the fourth and final playoff spot in the East. The Fever (11-12) have played their past two contests without one of their leading scorers, Shavonte Zellous (plantar fasciitis), and she remains day to day.
They handled Atlanta 80-66 on Saturday in the first of those games without Zellous, who is averaging a career-best 15.0 points, but were blown out 75-58 by Phoenix on Wednesday.
Indiana shot a season-low 31.3 percent and had its worst scoring performance of 2013 to kick off a three-game western trip. Tamika Catchings (16 points) and Erin Phillips (14) were the only Fever players in double figures.
"I thought we mentally looked like we were still on the plane," coach Lin Dunn said. "I think if anything came in to play, we just didn't seem sharp. So I thought we made some mental decisions that hurt us and I know we can play better."