LA Confidential: Jacks Overtakes Fireballs 3-2 Series Lead; Doze Out 10 Days with Sore Elbow
- By Jron Magcale, Day 198, 2025
LOS ANGELES - The Fireballs fall 2 straight as the Lumberjacks found their rhythm in the series with back to back 40-point 4th quarters to take the lead in the series. The Fireballs who was holding the lead before game 4 quickly tumbled at home 122-134 and then lost control on the road 125-116. Both were played on a pace that the Fireballs is comfortable with but the Jacks were able to adjust to the Fireballs game and that was the big difference. To add difficulty for the Fireballs task to come back to this series, they have lost starting forward Randall Dozier with a sore elbow and will reportedly be out 10 days and miss game 6 and if necessary game 7. The Fireballs combo forward injured his elbow 2 minutes into the game and was ruled out of the game. Now down 3-2 and the Jacks poised to close the series in Los Angeles, the Fireballs needs to receive big game from their star Chris LaCruz on game 6 and if they ever survive Jacks in game 6, he needs to do it again for game 7. This will be interesting for the Fireballs who has exceeded all expectations this season and playoffs but is now facing adversity taking on a full strength Jacks, with their season on the line how will the Fireballs respond?
GAME 4 - LUMBERJACKS 134, FIREBALLS 122 (AT HOME)
The Lumberjacks surprised attack the Fireballs by scoring 39 points in the 1st quarter and setting the tone for game 4. The first half ended 64-71 but the Fireballs bounced back scoring 30 in the 3rd quarter while the Jacks scored 23, tying the game after 3 quarters 94-94. The Fireballs even took the lead in the 3rd quarter but the Jacks quickly got back. It was a brutal 4th quarter for the Fireballs who wasn't able to close out at home as the Jacks gone berserk scoring 40 points in the 4th quarter while the Fireballs only able to score 28, tying the series 2-2 going back to Portland.
The Fireballs got a big game from Jamaine Curry who dropped playoffs high 48 points on 19/31 FG, 6/11 3FG and 4/8, Dejuan Brooks off the bench showed sign of life scoring 19 points on 5/7 FG, 4/5 3FG, 5/5 FT in 22 minutes of play. The obvious absence was Chris LaCruz' dominant game as he only finished 17 points on 7/16 FG, 0/5 3FG, 3/5 FT with 11 dimes, 4 rebounds and 1 steal, Aaron Taphorn added 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 blocks, 2 steals and an assist. Both Randall Dozier and James Spencer was limited with foul trouble playing less than 30 minutes, Spencer played 21 minutes and recorded 7 points,5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block while Doze struggled heavily with 0/9 FG, 0/4 3FG and 5/6 FT with 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block. The Jacks were lead by Antoine Peeler who finally exploded with 40 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 1 steal, Jarvis McSwine also added 26 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 1 block, Dorian Sylvester added 16 points and 8 rebounds while Akieem Martin, Deonte Christian and Austin Bryant score 11 points each.
GAME 5 - FIREBALLS 116, LUMBERJACKS 125 (AT PORTLAND)
The Fireballs went to Portland with a mission and that is to take game 5 they were able to start strong despite losing Dozier 2:24 in the game, when he went down with an elbow injury when he landed awkwardly and was escorted off the court, Fireballs scored 34 points in the 1st quarter but falter in the 2nd quarter with only 19 points, ended the 1st half 53-59 when the Jacks scored 30 in the 2nd quarter to take the lead. The 3rd quarter the Fireballs again went to work and scored 36 points while the Jacks scored 25 points and taking 84-89 lead going into the 4th quarter but the Jacks again went on to score 41 points to close out the Fireballs at home 125-116 taking the lead with authority. The Fireballs has failed to close out the game in back to back games and if they want to extend this series they need to be able to close the game in game 6 because the Jacks is looking to finish the series as soon as they can.
Chris LaCruz was big scoring 37 points shooting 13/22 FG, 5/7 3FG and 6/6 for 37 points and add 8 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals, James Spencer helped with 20 points and 13 rebounds and 5 assists while Jamaine Curry after a hot game 4 scored only 18 points but did add 7 rebounds and 3 assists, off the bench Dajuan Brooks who played 37 minutes replacing the injured Doze added 14 points (5/19 FG, 3/10 3FG, 1/1 FT), 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. The Jacks again was lead by Peeler's 31 points, 5 assists and 3 steals, Akieem Martin with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks, Jarvis McSwine posted 20 points while Austin Bryant off the bench with 19 points leads the bench.