Interesting, isn’t it, how this year’s WNBA finals is following, so closely, last year’s series? Los Angles took Game 1 both years, lost Game 2 both years.

And, following form, the Sparks won Game 3 here tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in front of an announced crowd of 13,500.

This 75-64 Sparks win was a strange one. The trio of Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore went scoreless in the first half. But a very good Lynx defense kept them within nine points at halftime.

Again going small – this time with rookie guard Alexis Jones scoring nine points – the Lynx used a 7-0 run to pull within a point with 6:57 left in the game. But the Lynx couldn’t get over the hump. And now they have to hope the pattern holds. The Lynx won Game 4 here last year. They need to Sunday to force to a fifth game back at Williams Arena.

Here are some thoughts on the game

--I still can’t believe Augustus was held scoreless tonight. And not only that, but she took only four shots. She was not aggressive or assertive at all. Both she and Whalen didn’t score; Whalen played just 12 minutes. After the game coach Cheryl Reeve noted that it’s hard to win the WNBA players without your star players.

She’s right.

--Sylvia Fowles had another double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. She also had two blocks. But the Lynx are having a devil of a time getting the ball to her in good position; she was getting pushed off the block all night. She made seven of nine shots, but she only took nine shots.

--After winning the rebounding battle in the first two games, the Lynx were out-rebounded 34-27 tonight. Other than Fowles, nobody had more than Maya Moore’s three rebounds. That has to change.

--We all know it, but let me say it again: Alana Beard is one heck of a perimeter defender. Tonight she impacted both Moore and Augustus when Moore was on the bench with fouls.

--In a game where starters are so important, the Sparks starters out-scored Minnesota’s starters 64-37.

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