Thompson's buzzer-beater lifts Sparks to 78-77 win at Minnesota

Tina Thompson's buzzer-beating jump shot lifted the Los Angeles Sparks to a 78-77 win over the Minnesota Lynx on Thursday, and kept the Sparks' playoff hopes alive.

Lindsey Whalen hit two free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining to give the Lynx a 77-76 lead.

But on the ensuing play, Thompson knocked down a 17-foot shot from the baseline, as the Sparks snapped a two-game losing streak. Thompson finished with 16 points.

With the win, Los Angeles improved to 11-19 and moved a half-game behind San Antonio and Minnesota for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Minnesota got 24 points off the bench from Charde Houston, who tied a career best with four 3-pointers as the Lynx fell to 11-18.

Delisha Milton-Jones led the Sparks with 21 points as they beat Minnesota for the third time this season.

Spurred by a 12-0 run, the Lynx opened up a 17-point lead in the second quarter. Houston came off the bench with 16 first-half points for Minnesota. But the Sparks battled back on a trio of 3-pointers in the second quarter, and finally whittled Minnesota down to a single-digit lead, with the Lynx up 42-33 at the half.

Milton-Jones led Los Angeles with 12 points in the opening 20 minutes.

Rebekkah Brunson led all rebounders with 14 for Minnesota, which had won on Tuesday at San Antonio and seemed prepared to put the Sparks in their rearview mirror. Minnesota trailed 1-0 in the opening minute and not again until Milton-Jones' 3-pointer put the Sparks up 74-73 with 1:15 to play.