LaMelo Ball outplays Luka Doncic in Hornets’ win over Mavericks, LaMelo Ball makes Hornets history with 20-point performance vs. Mavericks

LaMelo Ball outplays Luka Doncic in Hornets’ win over Mavericks,  LaMelo Ball makes Hornets history with 20-point performance vs. Mavericks

LaMelo Ball makes Hornets history with 20-point performance vs. Mavericks

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Miles Bridges on LaMelo Ball after historic night: ‘He’s the third pick for a reason’

LaMelo Ball’s NBA career is less than two weeks old, but the Hornets rookie already has a signature win.

Ball and Charlotte (2-2) beat Luka Doncic and the Mavericks (1-3) on Wednesday night, 118-99. Ball had his best night as an NBA player so far, scoring a game-high 22 points to go with eight rebounds, five assists and 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range. In defeat, Doncic scored only 12 points with five assists.

“LaMelo’s showing growth every single game,” Hornets coach James Borrego told media postgame. “He had his fingerprints all over that game…playing with poise, confidence. He was a calming force out there for us.”

Ball, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, has come off the bench for his first four NBA games. He entered Wednesday night averaging 6.3 points per game — he’d made a few highlights, especially as a passer, but his impact had been pretty minimal.

That all changed against the Mavericks, as Ball came out aggressively. He got to the line soon after entering, then dished out a couple of assists before nailing a 3-pointer from 30 feet out. Then he grabbed an offensive rebound to hit a buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter.

By the fourth quarter, with the game well out of reach, Ball hit a right-elbow jumper, a left-wing 3-pointer and then a switch-hands layup to ensure there’d be no Mavs comeback.

One of the biggest concerns about Ball entering the NBA was his shooting. In the highlights above, it’s obvious his mechanics aren’t conventional — there’s a whole lot of leg movement. But against Dallas, that didn’t stop him from hitting four of his five attempts from beyond the arc.

Ball is always going to be a big story due to his family. His older brother Lonzo plays for the Pelicans, and their father LaVar has made a big to-do for years about how good his sons are. Whether Ball overcomes the various worries about his game in a long NBA career remains to be seen.

For one night, though, Ball looked like he might be the best player on the floor.

“Melo’s a great player,” Hornets forward Miles Bridges told media postgame. “He’s the third pick for a reason.”

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Against the Mavericks, Ball finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists off the bench in a 118-99 win over the Mavericks on the road. It was the first time a Hornets rookie had record 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in a game since Kemba Walker did so in April of 2012.

Also, it’s the first time in nearly three decades that a Hornets rookie has recorded 20 points, five rebounds and five assists off the bench in a game since Kendall Gill did so in 1991.

Ball had it all going on Wednesday, shooting 7-of-10 from the field and 4-of-5 from the three-point line while adding a block and a steal to his stat line in the win.

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LaMelo Ball’s historic night ended in a laugh.

With 18 seconds left, Ball corralled an offensive rebound from a missed three-pointer by Vernon Carey Jr. Realizing the shot clock had only reset to 14, Ball circled out to the perimeter, handed the ball to Jalen McDaniels and raced to the far corner, leaving his teammate to be credited with the turnover.

Ball did it all with a smile on his face, which was easy to do after a 22-point, eight-rebound, five-assist performance as the Hornets blew out the Mavericks on the road, 118-99.

WHO IS” LA MELO BALL”

LaMelo LaFrance Ball (born August 22, 2001) is an American professional basketball player for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected by the Hornets with the third overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft.

Ball began high school at Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, California, where he won a state championship and achieved national success as a freshman with his older brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo, Lonzo is a current NBA guard. Before his junior season, a coaching dispute prompted him to leave Chino Hills and sign with Lithuanian professional team Prienai. In 2018, he played in the Junior Basketball Association (JBA), a league created by his father, before returning to high school as a senior with SPIRE Academy in Geneva, Ohio. A former UCLA commit, he was a five-star recruit but chose to forgo college basketball amid eligibility concerns and play in Australia for the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League (NBL) in 2019, winning NBL Rookie of the Year.

Ball and his brothers have attracted national attention since playing together in high school. His father, LaVar, also grew into a media personality in 2017. Ball has a signature shoe by his father’s company, Big Baller Brand, and a role on his family’s Facebook Watch reality show Ball in the Family.

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