Los Angeles Won 2 Straight vs Denver and Pittsburgh
- By Jron Magcale, Day 45, 2023
LOS ANGELES - The Fireballs won their last 2 games to put a 3-game winning streak after dropping 4 straight just recently. The wins was at The Peak in Denver and at home vs Pittsburgh. That notched the Fireballs 10th win in 21 games.
Fireballs Control Pace Early, Won in Denver
Dragons - 99
Fireballs - 106
The Los Angeles Fireballs wasted no time and went to work early against the Dragons at The Peak arena in Denver, scoring 36 points in the opening quarter and then 29 in the next to put together a 65 points first half, Denver tried to not fall far behind by scoring 59 of their own, the team banked on forcing turnovers as the Dragons committed 14 and Fireballs only 8, the points off turnover was in favor of LA with 17 points while Dragons only have 13 points. The 3rd quarter saw Fireballs keeping the pace as they scored 26 points and keeping the Dragons to only 17 points. The Fireballs had their biggest lead in the 3rd quarter as they lead by 15 at 3:13 on the 3rd quarter. In the 4th quarter the Fireballs laid low and scored only 15 points and Dragons tried to come back eventually finishing the quarter with 23 point but it wasn't enough as the Fireballs took the W in Denver 106-99.
Chris LaCruz scored 30 points on 12/26 FG, 1/7 3FG and 5/6 FT to go with 6 assists and 8 rebounds while his match up All-Star PG Jevon Novak had a double-double 25 points and 11 assists. All Fireballs starters was in double figures as Derrick Aririguzoh didn't miss a FG finishing 14 points on 6/6 FG although struggled at the line converting 2/5 FT, he was effective on the boards grabbing 10 rebounds also adding 5 blocks and 4 assists, his sub partner also had a good game grabbing game-high 15 boards and swatting 4 shots while scoring 6 points off the bench who also shot 3/3 FG. Devan Carroll also recorded a double-double scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 boards while contributing everywhere with 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. iMac scored 16 points while Jamal Wilkinson also contributed 14 points of his own.
Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes was available in the presser and commented after the win in Denver: "We wanted to start strong because Denver is a high octane team as well and when their weapons started clicking that is a problem for us. Fortunately our guys were playing well enough to keep the pace to our advantage, we forced turnovers and converted it points, we crashed the boards well and defended in the post."
BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13122
Fireballs Wins Thriller in LA vs Determined Vipers
Fireballs - 126
Vipers - 122
Los Angeles was stunned as Pittsburgh Vipers came to The Forum aggressive and hungry, came out of the gate hot scoring 69 points in the 1st half, the surprised Fireballs squad tried to keep it as close as they can scoring 60 in the 1st half, the Fireballs was trailing for majority of the game as the Vipers is setting the pace of the game scoring 31 points in the 3rd quarter while the Fireballs is starting to find their footing scoring 34 points in the same quarter, it was the 4th quarter where the Fireballs made tasting the lead with 2:36 remaining in the game scoring a 1 point lead, the Vipers was able to tie the ball game 117-117 with 1:34 minutes remaining and that is when the Fireballs strike and controlled the game and eventually took the game 126-122 on a come from behind effort. The Fireballs experience was the advantage as it was what kept them composed over the much younger Vipers squad.
Chris LaCruz had his usual numbers flirting with a triple-double with 34 points (14/30 FG, 3/7 3FG, 3/4 FT), 10 assists, 8 rebounds and 2 steals, Devan Carroll was everywhere once again 24 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block, efficiently scoring 10/14 FG, 3/4 3FG, 2/3 FT, Isaiah McCarty also had a good all-around game as he scored 19 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and a block in what becomes his last game as a Fireball because 24 hours after the game a trade announcement was made that he will be going back to the team that drafted him and won a ring with in 2013 (in which he also bags Finals MVP), the Detroit Mustangs for perimeter wing Reggie Coleman (who was signed as a free agent over the offseason). Going back to the game Jamal Wilkinson scored 15 points, his 2nd game scoring in double figures. Vipers was lead by 21 points from both Treyvon Miller and Tyler Davis and had 4 other players in double figures but can't close out in LA.
"Everytime we're in LA it has to be a big stage for the fans, the Vipers came ready and played their game, we knew we have to keep within striking distance and in the 4th quarter we found a window with 3 minutes left and from there we just kept pounding and when we have the lead I told the guys we just need to hold onto it, for our fans, they need this win as much as we do." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said in an interview after the game.
BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13135
The Los Angeles Fireballs will have a 3-game home stand as the team will host Skyhawks (7-12) Day 45 then division rivals Scorpions (13-8) Day 47 for the next sim and then the sim after that on Day 50 will host the Knights (10-11). Day 45 will be Reggie Coleman's debut and it is also reported that Sidney Cavenell will be promoted to backup SF after spending most of his time in LA as the 3rd string SF/PF, this comes to the reports that Lorenzo Charles was placed in the trading block once again (he was removed from the block before the season starts) and has been in part of trade talks already with multiple teams. The move is to get the rotation ready if ever defensive wing Lorenzo Charles gets dealt. He will still suit up for the next sim.