Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 9/7/14

BEIJING - AUGUST 11: Candace Parker #15 of the United States looks on prior to playing against China in a women's basketball preliminary game on Day 3 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the Wukesong Indoor Stadium on August 11, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Sparks should be feeling pretty good about themselves heading into the playoffs following a stellar performance in their regular-season finale, partly because it came against the team they face in the first round. After splitting four regular-season meetings, the Sparks and Phoenix Mercury tip off their best-of-three Western Conference semifinal series Thursday night in Los Angeles. The second-seeded Sparks (24-10) won three straight and 12 of 15 to end the regular season, including Sunday's 89-55 rout of Phoenix. Candace Parker and Jantel Lavender scored 16 points apiece, and the team's top players were able to sit out the second half to rest up for the playoffs. "I think it's good for our confidence, but there's a lot of things we can take from this," Parker said. "We got some (reserve) players in. We were able to play but rest a little bit. Combined the past two games I (haven't played a lot of minutes). But I think it's good for us, and going into next week re...
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