Fireballs Split: LaCruz Drops 62 at Seattle, Can't Finish Atlanta at Home
- By Jron Magcale, Day 29, 2023
LOS ANGELES - The Fireballs stuns everybody by winning big in Seattle after Chris "The Juice" LaCruz with a historical 60-point triple double performance then going back at home to drop a 2-point L against the Atlanta Devils:
Fireballs Outruns Thunder Behind LaCruz' 62 Points
Thunder - 101
Fireballs - 128
The Fireballs didn't waste no time as they started the game in Seattle on fire scoring 68 points out the gate to the Thunder's 47 points, the best team in the Pacific Division never lead the game as the 2nd half was rather the same with the Fireballs dropping 60 to the Thunder's 54, fnishing the game with 128-101, Fireballs. But the story of the game is Fireballs franchise guard Chris LaCruz who has a historical game and one for the books as he put up a career-high 62 points (28/44 FG, 4/8 3FG, 2/3 FT) and notched a triple double as well grabbing 10 boards and dropping 11 dimes on his way to the record books. Thunder's head coach Mitchell Butler was one of 3 Fireballs players to do it recording a 60-point triple double ironically vs the Thunder in 2005 although he did it a few more times but he did it last vs the Mustangs in 2010, the only other Fireball to do it besides LaCruz and Butler is Rashard Stevens in 2012.
Oh half-time the Seattle Thunder presented Devan Carroll his 2nd championship ring and he humbly thanked the Seattle organization and its fans. Carroll did struggle vs his former team finishing with only 3 points on 1/12 FG, 1/7 3FG, he did however recorded 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists and 1 block to help with the W. Seattle was lead by scoring leader Andre Phifer with 25 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds followed by Ainsley Tucker's double-double 24 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals. Dontay Sowder had a quiet night scoring 8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
"I felt good out of the gate, I knew I had to be aggressive, this is a top team and I just need to find a mismatch and exploit it, they are a very good defensive team, and I just was a bit more aggressive. I didn't realized I had 60 until coach told me during a time out. I just wanted to win bad. After the game, I approached coach Butler and told him 'Butler Mentality' he just sort of laugh but he knew I was channeling the him on that game." Chris LaCruz said during a press conference after the game.
BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/rosters?team=Thunder
Atlanta Narrowly Escapes LA with a 2 Point Win
After the Los Angeles' win in Seattle they head back home to defend their house but with an all-in performance vs the Thunder, the Fireballs came up short and the home woes continous in Southern California. The Fireballs started hot again scoring 38 points in the 1st quarter, paced it with 24 in the 2nd while Atlanta 28 and 26 respectively. The key for Atlanta was the hot 3rd quarter where they outscored LA 33-23 and that is when LA's gas were out, LA scored only 21 in the final quarter same with Atlanta but the Devils have their ground up, Devils inside game was big as they scored 48 points to 36 of LA.
The Devils had 6 players in double figures with Slattery and Spencer came away with a double-double. The rebounding game was on point too for the Devils as they lead 54-45 on that department. Chris LaCruz recorded another double-double his 4th straight double figures in assists with 25 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Carroll also recorded a double-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks.
"It was a stinger again for us, we didn't finish aggressive enough and that is on us. We thought we can pace the game in the 2nd half but they have scoring everywhere that game, pretty spread out scoring and kudos to them for that. We have to figure out how to finish games better at home." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said at the presser.
BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13007