Los Angeles Extends Winning to 9, Undefeated since All-Star Break
- By Jron Magcale, Day 137, 2023
LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Fireballs has been red hot since coming off the All-Star break where their franchise player MVP candidate Chris LaCruz bagged the his 1st All-Star Game MVP award on his 4th All-Star appearance. The Fireballs has won 8 straight games since the break with the last 3 wins against playoff contending team (Scorpions, Lumberjacks and Dragons). The Fireballs has now won 9 out of their last 10 games losing only at Philadelphia on Day 116. Their last 3 games were impressive because they were expected to lose those games.
A strong showing in Las Vegas where star PG Chris LaCruz went toe to toe with Scorpions franchise wing Lamar Francis as LaCruz scored 36 while Francis notched 38, LaCruz got some support coming from sharpshooting wing Reggie Coleman's 5/9 3FG en route to 23 points. They use their hot start to pace the game and were able to close the game out 104-111. It was an extra difficult game because it was an away game vs one of the top teams in the west.
The next 2 games were home games but nonetheless vs teams who have started the season hot. Portland Lumberjacks and the Denver Dragons. The 'Jacks fell victim to another quick start by the Fireballs despite forward Dorian "Cat" Sylvester's 32 points on 12/15 FG shooting. The Fireballs relied on Reggie Coleman's hot outside shooting knocking down 7/12 3FG to finish with 29 points. Chris LaCruz contributed with 23 points in 30 mins and was playing on foul trouble, a problem he has been having recently. Devan Carroll continues to struggle as the do-it-all combo forward fail to score in double figures (7 points) for the 3rd straight game. The Fireballs 12/35 outside shooting was too much for the Lumberjacks as they drop at The Forum 97-101.
They hosted the #5 team in the West, the upbeat Denver Dragons on Day 134 where Odell "OB1" Bracey scored 27 points for the Dragons but was eclipsed by the Fireballs trio of Chris LaCruz (25 points), Devan Carroll (21 points) and Reggie Coleman (20 points) all scored 20 or more points to get the Fireballs over the Dragons in Los Angeles. The Dragons struggled from the outside only making 3/19 from the outside. The Fireballs also not hot from the 3-point area as they only connected 9/31 from behind the arc. Caroll shook off the scoring struggle as he notched 21 points after scoring 6, 6 and 7 last 3 games before facing the Dragons. Jamal Wilkinson seems to also find his groove as he has been scoring well (20, 16 and 19 points last 3 games).
The Fireballs is now sitting at #3 in the Pacific Division where they spent the whole 1st part of the season in the bottom of their division, at 37-28 it is also #6 in the Western Conference currently 2 games behind the Denver Dragons and a game above Oakland Tritons. Currently ranked #10 in the power rankings as well. The Fireballs is also the #1 3pt shooting team with ranks of #1 in 3P made per game (12.7), 3P attempted per game (35.6) and 3P rate (.378), they are #2 in total 3P made (825) and 3P Attempts (2313). Their streak will be tested soon as their next 3 games features the Boston Crusaders (22-44) at home on Day (137) then travel to Chicago to face the Jailbirds (49-18) on Day 140 and then far north to Toronto to visit the East top team Toronto Huskies (51-15) on Day 142.