LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Once again the Aces closed with a bang to finish off an opponent.

With Chelsea Gray leading a fourth-quarter burst, the Aces beat the Phoenix Mercury 79-63 on Wednesday night to win the opener of their best-of-three WNBA playoff series.

Phoenix had sliced a comfortable Aces’ lead to one early in the fourth at Michelob Ultra Arena when Gray went to work. A 7-0 run pushed the Aces’ lead to nine points, then they ran off a 13-3 scoring burst to put the game out of reach.

Gray had nine points in the final period and finished with 17 points. In a key sequence, she scored five consecutive points — two free throws on a flagrant foul call against Phoenix’s Megan Gustafson followed by a 3-pointer — giving the Aces a 60-51 edge.

The Aces, who average 90 points, didn’t show a ton of firepower against Phoenix. But Gray, who made 6 of 9 shots, said the Mercury were good at congesting the lane. “And we settled for some outside shots,” she said. “That’s what they were giving us. … Credit their defense for challenging us.”

Aces coach Becky Hammon praised her point guard’s play down the stretch. “You watch Chelsea, and you know she loves these moments,” Hammon said.

The Aces won their final three regular-season games to clinch the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, with each victory featuring a strong fourth-quarter effort. Wednesday’s triumph was more of the same.

The Aces shot 61.5% in the final quarter and 40.6% overall (26-for-64 shooting). But they had nine 3-pointers to five for the Mercury and made all 18 of their free throws.

Phoenix, playing without injured starters Diana Taurasi (quad) and Skylar Diggins-Smith (personal reasons), shot 30.7 percent (23-for-75). They also lost Shey Peddy in the third quarter to a leg injury.

Diamond DeShields led Phoenix with 18 points.

Kelsey Plum had a game-high 22 points for the Aces on 6-for-13 shooting, including 2-for-7 from 3-point range. Teammate Jackie Young added 16 points, also shooting 6-for-13.

A’ja Wilson shot an uncharacteristic 2-for-11 and finished with eight points. But she had 12 rebounds, three blocks and three assists.

Game 2 is Saturday at Michelob Ultra Arena. Tipoff is 6 p.m.