By Dave Loveton, Director of Media Relations
Thursday, July 1, 2010
IBL Playoffs

At Portland , Ore.
American Bracket semifinal Friday, July 2 – No. 3 Lightning vs. No. 6 Bellingham Slam, 6 p.m.

Lightning seeded third for playoffs
NBA players returning for opener on Friday vs. Bellingham

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Los Angeles Lightning will open defense of their International Basketball League title against a familiar opponent on Friday at Warner Pacific College . The Lightning (14-5) were seeded third and will take on the No. 6 Bellingham ( Wash. ) Slam (13-7) on Friday at 6 p.m. in an American Bracket semifinal. The Albany Legends (competing in the National Bracket) are the No. 1 seed while the Olympia Reign are No. 2 with a 17-5 record.

The Lightning beat Bellingham 132-121 in last year’s bracket championship and went on to down the Oregon Waves 2-1 in the championship series.

“It’s going to be a battle,” said L.A. coach Ron Quarterman. “This is single-elimination and if you come out and play like we did Wednesday (in a 136-129 loss at Olympia , Wash. ), we’re not going to win.”

The Lightning will be boosted by the arrival of six players, including four who played in the NBA. Fred Vinson, Bryon Russell, Tyus Edney and Juaquin Hawkins are the ex-NBA players making the trip to the Northwest. They’ll be joined by Travis Pinick and State Sen. Tony Strickland, giving L.A. a 14-player roster.

Trayvon Lathan, the third-leading scorer in the IBL at 27.3, had 32 points and 21 rebounds in Wednesday’s game at Olympia . The Lightning set a team record with 79 rebounds (winning the board battle by 18) but got outscored 60-18 from the 3-point line.

Friday's game will be broadcast in Ventura County on AM 1490 KKZZ radio and streamed live around the world on the internet at www.lalightning.net.

If the Lightning win, they’ll play in the bracket final on Saturday at 2 p.m.