LA Escapes Skyhawks, Stung by Scorpions at Home

  • By Jron Magcale, Day 49, 2023

LOS ANGELES - The Fireballs came into the Skyhawks game with a brand new lineup and rotation as the recent trade of veteran sharpshooter Isaiah "iMac" McCarty is just fresh from everyone's mind, so the 2 games is a test on how the new lineup and rotation will do against stiff competition. The Fireballs finished a hard fought 1-1 in this last sim.

Fireballs Narrowly Escapes Skyhawks wit Cavenell FT
Fireballs 99
Skyhawks 98 (OT)

The Skyhawks came to LA hungry and with the recent changes within the Fireballs lineup and rotation, the Skyhawks is hoping they can pull a fast one and win in LA and they almost did that, with a rather slow start for both teams and a low scoring 1st half 39-36, Fireballs. The game really started in the 3rd quarter in which the Skyhawks blasted their way into scoring 43 points while Fireballs manages to only score 30, that may have been enough on most games for a win but the Fireballs scrapped their way to force OT, scoring 23 points and holding the Skyhawks to only 13 points in the final period , the Fireballs did have a 2 point lead 92-90 for a while about 2:32 and both teams can't buy a basket up until Lamar Claxton was sent to the line and banks 2 FT with 38 seconds remaining, both teams failed to score a basket sending the tight game into OT.

The OT was dictated by Skyhwaks drawing first blood and pacing the game to hold for a win until the Fireballs claw their way back and tied the game with time running out, the Skyhawks committed a foul in the last sequence of the game that sent veteran Sidney Cavenell to the line who replaces Reggie Coleman earlier who fouled out, Cavenell sinks 2 FT to come away with the victory. The recent insertion of veteran SF Sidney Cavenell (who finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists while shooting 2/3 FG and 2/2FT) was very timely as he did his part and saved the game for LA. The Fireballs relied heavily on Chris LaCruz who played for 48 minutes recording 33 points (10/19 FG, 2/6 3FG, 11/14 FT),8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and a block, he was aggressive and attacking the basket at will, beating his defenders on 1-on-1 situations. Newly acquired wing Reggie Coleman did well in his Fireballs debut scoring 20 points on 6/13FG, 4/9 3FG, 4/7 FT while also adding 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 1 steal although committing 5 TO and fouling out, the only other Fireball with double figures is SG Jamal Wilkinson who scored 12 points despite his 30% shooting game (4/13 FG, 2/3 3FG, 2/2 FT) he did however recorded 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Skyhawks was lead by Mark Hunter's 36-12 and Rubin Wingfield's 17-11.

"That was one hell of a game, we came out with a completely different rotation from what we are used to as we have to replace Zo (Charles) in the rotation because he was already requested in a trade deal and the Sid (Cavanell) was called upon, his number is called and he provided the minuted we needed and even save us from a tight game. That is what veterans do, he has been in the league for a while and he is ready, always. Reggie (Coleman) didn't have a hard time fitting in the role that iMac had, he came in scored 20 like he has been here, that is just after 1 practice. He was highly aggressive and it cost him a bit, fouling out and committed turnovers but that is expected, he'll get the hang of what do here in LA." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said in the post-game interview after the game.


Fireballs Fails to Take Care of the Scorpions at Home
Fireballs - 99
Scorpions - 106

From the looks of it, the game seems to be on its way to a high scoring affair as both teams runs a high pace and scores at will but in this game it was much more different. It was a game of runs, the Fireballs started strong with a 10-point lead in the 1st quarter followed by an equally strong 2nd quarter with 34 points, while Scorpions started slow with 22 points in the first but was hot in the 2nd quarter with 40, ending the 1st half 62-66, Fireballs. The 2nd half was a completely different game for the Fireballs as the defense of the Scorpions caught up as the Fireballs fails to score more than 17 points per quarter int he final half, scoring only 33 points in the 2nd half while the Scorpions scored 44 points in the 2nd half to take the win in Los Angeles.

The Fireballs was carried by Chris LaCruz' 43 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds, helping him is a double-double from Devan Carroll who had 12 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal. Reggie Coleman also was in double-figures scoring with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Off the bench Kareem Teague and Sidney Cavenell both contributed with 11 points each. The Scorpions was lead by Lamar Francis' 24 points, Omar Grant's 16-16 double double and Derrick Griffin's all-around game 20 points, 8 rebounds, 6 steals, 3 assists and 1 block. Off the bench veteran guard Shadrach Robinson contributed 19 points on 7/9 FG, 5/7 3FG. Isaiah Clarkson also recorded a double-double with 14 pointa and 11 rebounds.

Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes spoke after the game: "It's tough to always lose to a division rival but they are a better team than us right now and battling them will always be a challenge for us. We need to find a common ground right now, we are looking lost at times and we need to gel a bit, we rely heavily on Chris (LaCruz) which is taking a toll on our overall performance, we need to figure out how to win consistently and as the season progresses, we'll find it."


The Fireballs will have their last home game before going in the road for the next 2 games as they will face the Knights (11-10) at home on Day 50 and then return the favor by visiting them on Kansas City on Day 52.