Basketball

WNBA playoffs: Sparks make it look easy, cruise past Sky, 99-84, for 2-0 series lead

WNBA playoffs: Sparks make it look easy, cruise past Sky, 99-84, for 2-0 series lead

In the thick of a turbulent third quarter Friday night, when a bevy of Sparks mistakes gave the Chicago Sky a hint of life in Game 2 of the WNBA semifinals, one of the Sparks’ steadiest players was exactly that. 

Jantel Lavender does not start. She does not sink three-pointers or make attention-grabbing plays at the rim. 

But the 6-foot-4 center simply produces, almost without fail, and was key in the Sparks’ 99-84 win at Staples Center. Lavender, who was named the WNBA’s sixth woman of the year Wednesday, tied for a game-high with 20 points in 22 minutes off the bench. She also made her first eight shots, not missing until there was 7:21 left in...

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