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The Los Angeles Sparks have secured their home venue for the foreseeable future and signed a five-year contract extension to continue playing their games at the Arena through 2029. The contract with arena owner AEG was announced on Tuesday.

The Sparks, one of the WNBA’s original eight teams, have called the downtown arena home since 2001. Over the years, they have won three league championships at the arena and witnessed, among other things, Lisa Leslie’s historic first dunk in league history. The team shares the arena with the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, while the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers have moved to a new arena in nearby Inglewood. The Sparks played at the Forum in Inglewood from 1997 to 2000 before moving to their current arena.

“We have made a lot of history in this building and I look forward to witnessing even more defining moments in the future,” said Eric Holoman, managing partner and governor of Sparks, according to the Associated Press.

The Sparks’ recent performance has been mixed. They had a big win against the Las Vegas Aces last Friday, but suffered a disappointing 84-78 loss to the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday. Despite trailing by double digits early in the game, the Sparks were able to catch up but were unable to finish the game. That inconsistency has been a recurring problem this season, said head coach Curt Miller.

“If we don’t play better, if we play like we did tonight, Minnesota will beat us by 20-plus points easily. They’re really, really talented,” Miller said, via David Yapkowitz of ClutchPoints. “I’m not worried about the wins and losses. What I’m more worried about is that we live up to our standards and look the way we want to. If we don’t do that on Tuesday against the Minnesota team, it’s going to be a long night.”

Sparks had problems implementing this season

Los Angeles Sparks forward Dearica Hamby (5) makes a layup against Indiana Fever forward NaLyssa Smith (1) during the game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Tuesday, May 28, 2024.
Grace Hollars/Indy Star/USA TODAY NETWORK

The Sparks have struggled against the Minnesota Lynx this season, losing both games. The first loss was a lopsided 86-62 home loss on June 5, followed by a closer but still unsuccessful 81-76 road game. The Lynx, who currently have the best record in the Western Conference and fresh off a WNBA Commissioner’s Cup, pose a challenge. However, they may be without star forward Napheesa Collier, who is dealing with a foot injury.

One of the key problems for the Sparks was finding a reliable closer in close games. In their loss to the Mercury, Natasha Cloud dominated the fourth quarter, scoring a career-high 31 points and taking control in crunch time. The Sparks, on the other hand, looked disorganized and unsure of their strategy in the final minutes.

“You need closers, and no one is going to tell Natasha every game that she’s not the best player on the court,” Miller said. “Attitude is everything, and I thought she was confident in crunch time, and we looked around to see who our closer was going to be.”

Miller expressed his frustration with the team’s lack of performance, especially after timeouts.

“I was frustrated that we didn’t play the way we could. I don’t think we played with the same mindset, I don’t think we played with the same intensity,” he said. “The main thing you notice as a coach when there’s a lack of effort is when you have problems after a timeout. When you look them in the eye and plan something and then come out and they don’t know where they’re supposed to be or they don’t execute. That’s frustrating for a coach.”

Los Angeles Sparks