LA Confidential: Fireballs Split Games After the All-Star Break
- By Jron Magcale, Day 125, 2024
LOS ANGELES - The Fireballs split their games this sim winning at home vs the Lightning but losing on the road vs the Blizzards. They are still currently sitting at 8th in the Western conference and 4th in the Pacific division but the road for the playoffs has become a little bit tighter with Kansas City pulling on some big trades and Skyhawks finally getting Tezale Craig back healthy, not to mention OKC Barons recent hot streak beating top teams. It will be a difficult road for the Fireballs to secure a playoff spot but the team seems positive they can challenge and push for the playoffs.
Day 121 (Home) - Fireballs 123, Lightning 115
Fireballs wins at home after the All-Star break with the help of Jamaine Curry's 33 points and James Spencer's 26 points and 21 rebounds (career-best 12 offensive boards) as they came out with a 115-123 win. The Fireballs started the game scoring 43 points in the opening quarter then proceeded to finish the half with 73 points (Lightning scored 61 points). The Fireballs just maintained the lead en route for the W. Lightning wing Lamar Claxton dropped 40 points on 16/25 shooting while Spencer Allen helped out with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Fireballs All-Star PG Chris LaCruz played under 30 minutes and registered 18 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 1 block with 0 turnovers, LaCruz has been taking the ball very well last few games committing only 4 turnovers in the last 7 games.
KEY TAKEAWAYS: The Fireballs outrebounded the Lightning 55-45 and won the outside game connecting 11/29 from the 3-point area while the Lightning only able to bank 4/15. The early lead was too much for the Lightning to come back from, although they came close decreasing the lead to 1 with 4:37 with 105-106 but the Fireballs maintained the lead, they did cut it agian to 2 points with 2:10 111-113 but an 8-2 run to finish the game.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: C James Spencer, 26 points (10/21 FG, 6/7 FT), 21 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block. Spencer's work in the boards especially offensively was a big boost for the Fireballs. Registering his 44th double-double of the season and 5th 20+ rebounds game, his 12 offensive boards was huge and his energy has been a key factor for the Fireballs winning games.
Day 123 (Away) - Blizzards 137, Fireballs 126
The Blizzards received big games from their starter who defended their house against the Fireballs, both teams are known fast paced squads but it was the Blizzards' avalanche attack that secured them the win. Their starters played big lead by 29 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals from Donovan Galloway, Donnell Wallace's 8 3FGs (26 points total), dunk champ Donovan Mobley's 25 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks performance, Deleon Slay's 19 points and 15 assists and finally Collin Websters 18 points, 8 rebounds and 6 blocks. The team collectively blocked 23 shots which was scary defense. The game was close at first but a big 3rd quarter that has the Blizzards surging for 46 points made it hard for the Fireballs who weirdly enough only played star PG Chris LaCruz 31 minutes finishing with 21 points, 11 assists (0 TO), 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block. The Fireballs relied heavily on scoring guard Jamaine Curry who scored season best 49 points (21/34 FG, 5/10 3FG, 2/3 FT), his 1st 40-point game of the season, he has played well offensively since coming out from injury. The Fireballs is looking to adjust their rotation for their next games as they are looking to put together wins to make it in the tight playoff race in the West.
KEY TAKEAWAYS: The Blizzards came out ready and was in control, they outrebounded the Fireballs 52-48 and their 15/34 3FGs over Fireballs' 8/23 controlled the game. Fireballs was able to take the lead in the 2nd quarter 47-48 but that was it, the Blizzards controlled the game from there and they never saw a chance to come back.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: PF Donovan Galloway 29 points (9/18 FG, 2/6 3FG, 9/12 FT) 13 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals. Galloway has continued to be the Blizzards' star player posting an all-around game against the Fireballs. He was all over the court and was making plays, his strong outing gives them confidence to take down one of the most lethal offenses in the league.
The Fireballs are going to adjust the rotation setting up their strategy to gather wins to be on the playoff hunt. They will visit the red hot OKC Barons (28-33) on Day 125 who have won some impressive wins as of late, then a rematch with the Blizzards (24-37) this time at home on Day 127, hoping to win at home this time around.