Los Angeles Drops 2 at Home Extends Losing Streak to 3

  • By Jron Magcale, Day 69, 2023

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Fireballs has lost 2 straight at home, bowing down to Minnesota and losing a 1-point heartbreaker vs OKC. However the biggest lost for the Fireballs are the injuries of key players PG Chris LaCruz (1 week - Sore Foot), SF Reggie Coleman (3 weeks - back strain) and reserve F Jack Sears (1 week - thigh strain). It will be a huge blow for the scrapping Fireballs as they are up and down since the season starts.

Fireballs Bows to Blizzards, Lost Coleman to Injury
Fireballs - 99
Blizzards - 113

The Fireballs enters the game struggling in their last 2 away losses. But the Blizzards has been in a different groove lately as their team was able to dominate the Fireballs winning by 14-points. The game started tight but come 2nd quarter the Blizzard was firing at all cylinders as the Fireballs can't keep up scoring only 19 points while the Blizzards scored 33 to close the half 44-59, the 3rd quarter the Fireballs started to get some steam but was halted when starting wing Reggie Coleman fell awkwardly on a drive that resulted him having to be carted off the court with 4:31 remaining in the 3rd. The Fireballs scored 36 points while the Blizzards was not far behind with 30 points of their own. The 4th quarter becomes a different game as the Fireballs was badly missing Reggie Coleman scoring only 19 points and Blizzards pacing with 24 to finish the game with a huge lead 113-99. Basically the Blizzards lead the entire way as the Fireballs who was distracted with the Coleman injury wasn't able to keep up.

Blizzards was lead by Donnel Wallace's 30 points and rookie Donovan Mobley's 27 points, Donovan Galloway also finished with 19 points and Shaheed Duke contributed a double-double off the bench 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Fireballs have Chris LaCruz leading all scorers with 37 points while adding 9 assists, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks, Devan Carroll recorded 15 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists and 1 steal, Jamal Wilkinson also contributed with 13 points. The game pushed the Fireballs to 16-16 coming into the next game. Reggie Coleman's scary fall was a big concern for the team but the results came negative on any serious injury and was diagnosed with a back strain that will sideline him for 3 weeks.

"It was a scary fall and you don't want anything like that happening to anybody, he came off a pump fake and drove baseline but when he jumped he fell awkwardly and landed on his back, it was an accident and it was unintentional, part of the game. We are just relieved it wasn't serious and hopefully we get him back just in time to make a run." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said about Reggie Coleman's injury.

BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13296

Los Angeles Drops at Home vs OKC, Lost LaCruz to Injury
Fireballs - 98
Barons - 99

Los Angeles Fireballs is not having a good week as they lost superstar Chris LaCruz to injury in the 3rd quarter of their 98-99 1-point lose to the Barons. The game was actually tight as after the half the the Fireballs still have a slight lead 50-45, the 3rd quarter also started close but with 8:36 remaining the quarter Chris LaCruz landed on his foot after a jump shot, he accidentally steps into Jamar Strickland's foot where he leaned his weight on the same foot coming from the jumpshot, he fell right away and was grabbing his foot and the Forum was awfully silent for a whole minute, bracing themselves for what happened to their star PG. Jamar Strickland didn't left LaCruz and was apologetic on what happened, a clear accident, the Fireballs bench looking worried. The crowd got a breather when Chris LaCruz was able to stand but was being carried and assisted by teammate Devan Carroll and Jamar Strickland with other players approaching and checking on him as well. The bad news is Chris LaCruz went straight back to locker room with the medical staff and didn't went back to the game. The 3rd quarter was crucial as when LaCruz left they struggled to keep up with the Barons attack being outscored 19-30, in the 4th quarter the Fireballs tried to fight valiantly but they came up short with a quarter score of 28-23, losing by only 1 point 98-99.

Idris Berkley scored 20 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals while James Livingston registered 19 points and 7 rebounds, Jamar Strickland 17 points and 8 assists and Roy Ellington with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Fireballs Jamal Wilkinson and Derrick Aririguzoh both scored 17 points, LaCruz scored 13 points, 8 assista and 4 rebounds in almopst 3 quarters. TJ Holloway who replaced LaCruz scored 10 points and 5 assists, Devan Carroll also scored 10 points but was all over the board as always with 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks. Vitas 1st start at the PF position was modest as he finishes with 7 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and a block. Rookie SG Kareem Teague scored 12 points off the bench as well. The defeat puts the Fireballs under .500 again with 16-17. LaCruz test results came negative on tears and fractures but was advised to take a week off to let the swelling heal.

Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes commented about Chris LaCruz injury: "Well it's tough to lose Chris (LaCruz) at this stage especially coming with a very difficult stretch in our schedule coming. We're just happy that tests were negative and we'll only miss him for a week. We lost Reggie (Coleman) last game then Chris this game. Tough blow. But we hope we can still compete at a high level, we have a very capable group that can play hard every given night."

BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13314

The Fireballs will play without star player Chris LaCruz and starting SF Reggie Coleman on a difficult stretch of their schedule where they will be playing all Pacific Division teams, visiting the Oakland Tritons (19-15) on Day 69 then will travel to Seattle (24-9) on Day 71 and go back home on Day 72 to host the Thunder on a back to back.

*Reserve forward Jack Sears strained his thigh during the practice before they hosted OKC he will be out for 1 week.