Los Angeles Gets a Split in the Road, Downs Stars, Bullied by Bullets
- By Jron Magcale, Day 65, 2023
LOS ANGELES - The Fireballs won 1 and lost 1 before going back to LA, winning in Nashville against the Stars but dropping in Baltimore vs the Bullets. The Fireballs is now at 16-15 heading home for a 2-game home stand before traveling again for 2 games.
Fireballs Too Much for Struggling Stars in Nashville
Stars - 112
The Fireballs comes in the game with a little sense of desperation to win coming from a back to back lose in Houston and Charlotte, so they visit Nashville with a mission and that is to get the W. The game started rather slow with the 1st quarter ending in a 21-15 lead by the Fireballs but at the 2nd quarter LA steps on the gas to leave the 1sh half in the lead scoring 34 to the Stars 27 and finish the half 56-42, the 3rd quarter both teams seems to be firing at all cylinders as they both eclipsed the 30-point mar with the Fireballs still on top 39-35 (95-77 thorugh 3 quarters). With a commanding lead coming into the 4th, the Fireballs took their time as they only scored 27 while the Stars tried to push harder to come close scoring 35 points but at the end the lead was too much to get close to, Fireballs coming away with a victory 120-112.
Chris LaCruz was his usual MVP form scoring game high 44 points while also adding 9 assists and 7 rebounds, Devan Carroll went to work and almost registered a triple double with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists plus 2 steals. Jamal Wilkinson was the surprise contributor tying his season-high of 18 points with a better shooting night (8/15 FG, 2/7 3FG) than he has been having for the last few games he also contributed 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Reggie Coleman added 17 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. the Stars relied heavily on disgruntled veteran wing Teezale Craig who had 36 points while rookie guard Jordan Timberlake scored 25 points and Ashton Kolder recorded a double-double with 14-10.
"We needed to get a win, that is something that we've all been talking about going here to Nashville, we knew we'll see big numbers from Craig and we need to explode on offense one way or another. We found our groove in the middle of the game and that is what we used for us to maintain the lead. Chris (LaCruz) has been having quite a year, so we just need to perform consistently and we'll be good." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said after the game.
BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13257
Bullets Too Much for Fireballs in Baltimore
Bullets - 119
Fireballs - 105
The Fireballs flew to Baltimore for their final game on the road before going back to LA to host a couple of games and they wanted to end this road trip on a high note, but Baltimore who has been hot for the last couple of games isn't taking this game for granted. The Bullets who also have an array of firepower started on par with the Fireballs in the 1st quarter 28-29 with LA holding a slim lead. The 2nd quarter was a different ball game altogether as the Bullets used this quarter to show their presence limiting the usually high scoring Fireballs to just 14 points and them scoring 27 points ending the 1st half with 55-46 lead. The 3rd quarter was a shootout as both teams were firing ammos, the Fireballs scored 29 points while the Bullets didn't slow down scoring 33 (88-75 through 3 quarters), the 4th quarter the Fireballs tried to come up with a run but it was too late and the lead was too big, Fireballs scored 33 points in the final period while the Bullets comes away with 31 and the victory, 119-105, Bullets. Baltimore won the outside shooting match with the Fireballs, as the Bullets finishes with 19/40 3FG (47%) while the Fireballs only was able to finish with 10/36 (27%) that was the key factor of the game.
Bullets have 4 players with 20 points or more lead by Aaron Honeycutt's 32 points, then Brandon Kelly, Reggie Goodwin and Isaiah Evans all chip in with 20 points each. Fireballs leader Chris LaCruz scored 29 points but struggled to dial outside (1/7 3FG) but did have 9 assists, 6 rebounds and a steal. Devan Carroll was his usual all-around self scoring 22 points, 11 rebounds, 6 steals, 5 assists and a block. Derrick Aririguzoh also produced for the Fireballs with 17 points. Jamal Wilkinson didn't took a lot of shot finishing with only 7 points on 3/7 FG and 1/1 3FG.
Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes has this to say after the game: "Baltimore is young and talented their offense is almost the same make up as ours, they just have quite the shooters in Reg (Goodwin), IE (Isaiah Evans) and Honey (Honeycutt), plus BK (Brandon Kelly) can also shoot and is very versatile young wing on both ends of the floor. They outshoot us and they outhustle us, there's no excuse this is our biggest point margin losing 14 points, this road swing has been tough for us, but we'll bounce back for sure."
BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13271
The Fireballs will be back home for 2 games as they will host the young and active Blizzards (11-21) on Day 66 then on Day 68 the up and coming Barons (15-16) will come to visit. Stoyanov Vitas will be available to play as he was cleared today to play.