Fireballs 2-0 in LaCruz Return, Beats Jags and Rens in LA
- By Jron Magcale, Day 81, 2023
LOS ANGELES - The losing streak ended for the Los Angeles Fireballs as superstar point god Chris LaCruz returned from injury after missing close to 2 weeks. Wins at home against the heavily favored MXC Jaguars and the struggling NY Renegades.
Fireballs Surprised Jaguars, Wins at Home
It was a triumphant return for Chris LaCruz as he navigated the Fireballs to a win against the very solid Jaguars team. Despite struggles from the rest of the starters (Carroll - 6 points on 3/14, Wilkinson 5 points on 2/12 FG and Vitas 3 points 1/6 FG), the Fireballs point god took it upon himself to lead past the superior Jags team with the help from their bench (LA - 40 points, MXC - 21 points) lead by Keemar Campbell's double-double 12 points and 11 rebounds, Sidney Cavenell's 11 points and Akua Frazier's 10 points. LaCruz went on with a double-double of his own 31 points, 12 assists and added 6 rebounds and a block. The Fireballs were fighting shot for shot in the 1st half as the Jags wasn't letting them pull away 45-43 at halftime. the 3rd quarter was a different story as the Fireballs defense clamped the Jags to just 11 points while scoring 24 points. The lead ballooned to 19 points in the 4th quarter and the Fireballs just kept the pace to make sure they get the win eventually scoring a 98-85 win. The Jags was lead by Kahlil Hooker (19 points-15 rebounds), Antonio Vega (16 points and 10 rebounds) and Jamaal Adams (14 points and 13 assists) double-double efforts. They tried to match the Fireballs 3 point shooting but failed connecting only 3-22 while Fireballs 11-31.
"It felt good coming back after missing a few games. I knew I need to come in and contribute right away. MXC is such a tough match up for us but I guess I was hungrier, kudos to our bench for stepping up, we'll try to get it a game at time, the mission never changed for us, just a little detour, is all." Chris LaCruz said in his post-game interview.
BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13380
Fireballs Wins 2nd Straight, Beats Renegades
Fireballs - 118
Renegades - 103
The Fireballs wins 2 straight at home since Chris LaCruz came back from injury. This time winning against the struggling Rens team, the game was actually much closer than the result as the first half have seen the Fireballs leading just 3 points 60-57 and not until the end of the 3rd quarter and the start of the 4th where the Fireballs became aggressive in both ends of the floor. Outscoring the Renegades 58-46 to finish the game on a high note. The Fireballs was advantageous in the rebounding part of the basketball outrebounding the Rens to 57-41 and also moved the basketball better Fireballs having the lead in assists 40-30. Chris LaCruz again leads the Fireballs with a monster game 33 points, 18 assists and 8 rebounds while getting help off the bench from the surprising Akua Frazier who was super efficient scoring the basketball (9/10 FG and 6/7 3FG), Devan Carroll and Stoyanov Vitas both notched 15 points and Derrick Aririguzoh with 14 points as well. Rens was lead by rookie Omai Kamga's 22 points and 9 rebounds while Marcus Dunn flirted with a triple double 13 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists. Star Jerome Bradley had 17 points but played only 23 minutes because of foul trouble.
"We're glad Chris (LaCruz) is back he comes in like a superhero saving our squad, really. He makes his teammates better and as we are progressing into the season, we hope to get a good enough run before the All-Star. Akua (Frazier) was shooting unbelievable for the past few games, we hope to give him more minutes as he has been a huge help for our bench." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said on his post-game presser.
BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13392
The Fireballs will have 3 games next sim traveling to Austin (15-24) and St. Louis (18-21) on Days 81 and 82, then host the Mustangs (12-25) at home, it will be the 1st game since the iMac trade. iMac was a beloved part of the Fireballs organization for the last few years and would for sure be welcomed back warmly.