Fireballs Split at Home: Won vs Scorps, Lose vs Warriors
- By Jron Magcale, Day 105, 2023
LOS ANGELES - The Fireballs are fortunate to end up with a split against 2 top teams. The Fireballs stayed at home in The Forum for the 2 games playing new look teams in Las Vegas Scorpions and Philadelphia Warriors.
Fireballs 18 3-Pointers Too Much for the Scorpions
Fireballs - 131
Scorpions - 112
Coming into the game the Fireballs knew that their outside shooting is their best bet to take out tough Scorpions team and that is exactly what they did sinking 18 3-pointers (18/44 3FG) to keep their distance against the Scorpions who came in the game with a new lineup after acquiring elite PF Dameon Clarke. The Fireballs went on and jumped into an early big lead in the 1st quarter 44-23 and followed up with 33-27 in the 2nd quarter leading in the half with a comfortable 77-50. In the 3rd quarter the Fireballs lead ballooned into 34 points with 6:56 in the 3rd. The Scorpions was able to cut down to the lead actually leading in the 3rd quarter 32-27. After 3 quarters the Fireballs lead is now at 20 with 102-82, the 3rd quarter the Fireballs kind of lay low a bit and just paced the scoring allowing the bench to play some minutes. The Scorpions again lead the quarter score to end the game 30-27 but the lead was just too big and the Fireballs also isn't letting the lead to be cut down, at the end the Fireballs comes away with 131-112 home win.
The Fireballs was lead by Chris LaCruz' triple-double his 2nd this season with 38 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. Wing Reggie Goodwin also was solid as he scores 28 points (6/12 3FG), 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks, combo forward Devan Carroll was also efficient with 25 points (11/13 FG, 3/3 3FG), 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist and 1 block. Jamal Wilkinson also have a good night scoring 19 points (6/11 FG, 3/8 3FG, 2/2 FT), 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Scorpions scoring duo lead the team as Omar Grant recorded 26 points and 12 rebounds while high flying wing Lamar Francis notched 24 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Newcomer Dameon Clarke scored 21 points and 8 rebounds.
"We knew the Scorpions very well and if we don't start strong they'll eat us up in the 2nd half, so the mission was to be aggressive and run our transition basketball, we're fortunate enough that our outside shots were falling. Chris (LaCruz) was all over the floor and Reggie's (Coleman) outside shots were falling. We have to go shot by shot in the 3rd because any minute the Scorpions may create a run and we can't have that happening." Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes said after the game.
BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13561
Fireballs Fails to Close Out Warriors in LA
Fireballs - 110
Warriors - 115
The Warriors came out and play and took care of business in LA. It was a classic shootout as Chris LaCruz and Tezale Craig both scored 45 points. The Warriors knows the Fireballs tendencies of starting strong, so they did what the Fireballs would have done and jump quick on the 1st quarter by scoring 38 points while the Fireballs was just able to score 27. Holding an early 11-point lead the Warriors kept the same energy in the 2nd quarter with 30 points to the Fireballs 23 points. At the half the Warriors is sitting easy with a 68-50 halftime lead. The 3rd quarter is when the Fireballs tried to get back in the game, the Fireballs hustle got them to tie the game with 2:18 remaining at 78-78 then took the lead for the 1st time with 1:53 remaining 82-81, but the Warriors closed the 3rd quarter with the lead 86-92. The 4th quarter was quite a battle the Fireballs again took the lead at the 7" mark leading by 3 96-93 but that was the last time they will hold the lead as the Warriors was able to finish the Fireballs in LA 115-110. The Fireballs 3-point game was there but wasn't enough, connecting on 14/37 to Warriors 8/25, the story though was Warriors dominance inside as they outscored the Fireballs 52-32.
Chris LaCruz was in scoring mode as he exploded for 45 points (19/33 FG, 4/7 3FG, 3/5 FT), 6 rebounds, 4 assists. 3 steals and 2 blocks. Backing him up is sweet shooting wing Reggie Coleman who notched 18 points (6/10 FG, 3/6 3FG, 3/3 FT) 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Devan Carroll struggled mightily and only saw 23 minutes of playing time shooting 2/11 FG, 1/4 3FG, 1/2 FT for only 6 points. Off the bench Stoyanov Vitas played majority at the 4 and notched a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists but also shot poorly (2/12 FG, 2/6 3FG, 5/5 FT). Newly acquired wing Tezale Craig recorded his best performance as a Warrior so far with 45 points (16/23 FG, 2/3 3FG, 11/14 FT), 15 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. C Reggie Dawkins also notched a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Alonzo Weaver struggled a bit only scoring 12 points on 4/12 shooting night.
Assistant Coach Alton Wilkes told the reporters that: "Tezale (Craig) chose the wrong night to explode haha. Kidding aside, it was expected that we will be on an uphill battle against Philly, they are a strong team that became much stronger but we had a chance and we're confident we can win. It is just some timely mistakes, some questionable fouls and some of our shots weren't falling as well, we were able to hang against one of the best teams in the East, so we'll just adjust and see from there what's needs to be done."
BOX SCORE: http://jblfl.com/boxscore?game=13573
The Fireballs will begin their Road Tour as they visit the Lumberjacks (28-23) on Day 106 then to Oakland to face the Tritons (29-21) on Day 108.