Los Angeles Trending Up with 2-1 Sim

  • By Jron Magcale, Day 85, 2023

LOS ANGELES - The Fireballs is starting to pick it up winning 2 out of 3 last sim with Chris LaCruz dominating for the LA franchise since coming back after missing 4 games due to injury. Los Angeles visited Austin and won convincingly but lost when they visited St. Louis they head back home to host the Mustangs and won big as well.

Fireballs Extended Winning Streak to 3, Beats Rockets
Rockets - 97
Fireballs - 118

Los Angeles has been playing great ever since superstar guard Chris LaCruz came back from injury and they continued their winning ways as they visited the Rockets in Austin, started out scoring 33 points in the 1st quarter to have a comfortable 12 point lead, they paced the 2nd quarter as they traded baskets with the Rockets who is getting majority of their points in the inside wasn't far behind in the 2nd quarter scoring 23 points but the Fireballs scored 24 of their own to still have 11-point lead at halftime. Rockets tried to make a run and actually outscored the Fireballs 32-27 in the 3rd quarter to cut the lead to 8 (84-76) before the 4th quarter starts. But the Fireballs went on with finishing the Rockets with another big 4th quarter where they limited the rockets to 21 points and scored 34 points of their own to take home the win. The Fireballs won the rebound battle 50-45 and also leads the game in assists 40-35.

Chris LaCruz was again cooking scoring 43 points (added 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals) helping him was guard Akua Frazier who has been playing well with his new role and extended minutes scored 17 points on 7/13 FG. Devan Carroll was again making his presence felt all-around with 13 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks. The playmaking was orchestrated by the bigs as both Derrick Aririguzoh and Stoyanov Vitas dished 8 assists each. Isaiah Foreman lead the Rockets with 28 points and 9 rebounds while rookie Zion Jefferies recorded 16 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.

"Our outside shots aren't falling and we were actually struggling on that front, so we started to attack more frequently when the shots aren't there. Chris (LaCruz) has been really unbelievable and he showed it today. Akua (Frazier) has been a revelation and he is really making his minutes count." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said.

BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13403

Fireballs Fails to Win in St Louis
Skyhawks - 119
Fireballs - 112

The St. Louis Skyhawks knew what they are up against with coming into the game and knows that LA likes to start strong and pace the game from there, so that is exactly what they did to protect their homecourt against the Fireballs, they quickly went to work and dictated the in the first quarter limiting the Fireballs to 17 points in the 1st quarter and scoring 28 points in the process they have a bigger 2nd quarter exploding to 37 points to the Fireballs 30, leading in the half with a convincing 65-47 lead. The 2nd half is where the Fireballs tried to make their run to come close they did after they went on scoring 35 points in the 3rd quarter and limiting the Skyhawks to 23 cutting the lead to 6, 88-82. But the Skyhawks paced the 4th quarter well answering every Fireballs basket to seal the win with 119-112 final score.

Mark Hunter scored 29 points for the Skyhawks and Rubin Wingfield registered a double-double with 23 points and 15 assists. DeAnthony also have a big double-double off the bench scoring 21 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Chris LaCruz had a valiant effort to keep the Fireballs afloat scoring 35 points, 14 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and a block, Derrick Aririguzoh scored 22 points and Jamal Wilkinson seems to recovered from his shooting slump, scoring 17 points on 6/13 FG and 5/6 3FG.

"They strike quick and fast, we have no answer in the 1st half and we tried to rally back getting the lead down to 1 but it's just some timely mistakes on our part and unfortunately they close us out. No other thing to do but to regroup and play better the next time we out here." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said after the game.

BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13414

Fireballs Dominates Mustangs on iMac's Return to LA
Fireballs - 138
Mustangs - 111

The Fireballs hosted the Mustangs as iMac returns to LA a few weeks after the trade and receives a standing ovation and applause from the LA crowd when his name was called. He also was approached by his former teammates and received a hug from friend and former running mate Chris LaCruz midcourt before the game starts. The Mustangs started hot lead by iMac's perimeter attack, Mustangs leads 34-42 in the 1st quarter in what looks to be a high scoring affair. Former Mustangs wing who was traded for iMac, Reggie Coleman was out due to injury wasn't dressed for the game but was sitting in the bench during the game. In the 2nd quarter the Fireballs started to heat up as they scored 34 points in the 2nd quarter while Mustangs was limited to 25 points as the lead changed hand 67-68 at halftime. 3rd quarter the Fireballs continues to pounce as they scored 38 points to give themselves distance, Mustangs scoring 27, 106-94 coming into the final period. The Fireballs closed the game out in the 4th quarter dominating the 'Stangs 32-17. It was a classic shootout as both teams clicking from the outside, the Mustangs knocking down 19/39 3FG over Fireballs 16/35. The difference was the points in the paint as the Fireballs attacked their way along with their outside shots outscoring the 'Stangs 58-36 on that front.

It was a LaCruz vs iMac duel as LaCruz bested his former teammate recording 45 points (2nd 40-point performance in 3 games), 15 assists, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block. iMac has a big game as well scoring 35 points including 8/15 3FG, 11 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 assist and 1 block. Dameon Clarke contributed 30 points and 8 rebounds as well for the Mustangs. The Fireballs received support from Devan Carroll who scored 24 points and grabbed 9 rebounds while Derrick Aririguzoh also put up 20 points (scoring 20 points in back to back games).

Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes after the game said that "It was one hell of a game from iMac we knew coming in, he was going to do something like that, he knows this court very well and we can only close out and defend his outside shots because when it starts to go in, it's going to go in in bunches. We are just lucky we maintained the same energy from 1st to 4th and was able to be effective in and out. Chris (LaCruz) was amazing once again, playing at an MVP level as evident on the chants we all hear. But overall we need to keep it active, keep our head in our mission and be productive on both ends of the floor."

BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13434

The Fireballs will visit Phoenix (33-9) on Day 86 and then host the Kings (30-12) in the start of a gauntlet of games against top teams.