Los Angeles Drops Season Opener at Dallas 115-108
- By Jron Magcale, Day 5, 2023
LOS ANGELES - "They came out hungrier than we are, they have a great 2nd half and we blew our chances, outscored in the 2nd half 61-52. They deserve the W." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said after the game in Dallas in which the Fireballs lost the season opener to the Predators. It was Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes who was made available to talk to the media after the game, where Coach Rudaski Odrzywolski was unavailable, a team rep said. It probably is the process that the team will do on giving Coach Wilkes the 1-year internship before he officially step up the ladder.
On paper, Fireballs seems to be the better team but that wasn't the case on this game as Predators hot 2nd half after going toe to toe in the 1st half, take the Fireballs out of the game. 1st Half the Fireballs is even leading 56-54 but the more active Predators lead by the spark plug lead guard Jermaine Wade's 29 pts on 12/23 shooting and have 7 players in double figures. Rookie PG Keyon Barber showed what he can do vs a savvy veteran team posting 15 pts, 12 asts, 6 rebs, 1 stl and 2 blks only committing 2 TOs and shooting 4/7 from the field and 2/2 from beyond the arc. He didn't look like a rookie as he facilitated and lead the 2nd half surge quite steadily.
"They were the better team in that game." Chris LaCruz said who posted decent numbers 21 pts, 12 asts, 5 rebs and 1 stl (9/24Fg, 2/7 3FG, 4/4 FT). "We don't care if we were the better team on paper, that isn't an accurate basis as evident of that game, they came prepared, our shots didn't fell, we fouled too much and we didn't take advantage of the turnovers they committed.Jermaine (Wade) torched us and everybody on that team were scoring. We'll bounce back." LaCruz added.
The Fireballs took care of the ball better than the Predators but failed to convert them to points (DAL - 19 TO, LA - 10 TO), the Fireballs didn't convert on a lot of shots (45/108 FG, 41%) which was a big factor on the lose. They tried to shoot their way back and it cost them the game (12/42 3FG, 28%), they didn't attack the basket as much as they would and rely heavily on jumpers as a result Predators won that part of the game (20/25 FT) while Fireballs only went to the line 11 times converting 6 FT which is very low considering being known to attack the basket in transition.
"Well, we still need to figure out the rotation, we are a completely new team than what we are last year. So, the rotation is key for us, we weren't as aggressive as we thought we would be, Chris just came off an injury this offseason and Devan (Carroll) is still getting used to the offense. This is just the 1st game, we'll try to adjust and get better when we go back to L.A." Assistant Coach Wilkes said addressing the matter. It seems like the team is letting Assistant Coach Wilkes take most of the decisions for the team during the game as Coach Odrzywolski was just sitting and giving advices to Coach Wilkes here and there, the usual Coach O, was on a mentorship role during the game.
Newly acquired PF/SF Devan Carroll had a good game producing 21 pts, 10 rebs and 2 asts shooting 52% FG (9/17) and 37% 3FG (3/8) "It feels good, I came to a similar positional role in Seattle and similar pace, so the transition isn't as hard as I thought it would be. Chris (LaCruz) is really an unbelievable player, very cerebral you have to play with him to know that, iMac (McCarty) is like a mustang galloping still, he doesn't tire at all. Although we lost our first game, I feel that we will be a solid team once the cohesion sets in." Carroll said about his 1st game.
The Fireballs will fly back to L.A. for their 2nd game on Day 5 and will face the completely new look Houston Lightning who also drops their 1st game against a spirited Minnesota Blizzards team after that the Kansas City Knights will visit on Day 7.
GAME BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=12834