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LaMelo Ball outplays Luka Doncic in Hornets’ win over Mavericks

LaMelo Ball’s NBA profession is lower than two weeks previous, however the Hornets rookie already has a signature win.

Ball and Charlotte (2-2) beat Luka Doncic and the Mavericks (1-3) on Wednesday night time, 118-99. Ball had his finest night time as an NBA participant up to now, scoring a game-high 22 factors to go together with eight rebounds, 5 assists and 4-of-5 capturing from 3-point vary. In defeat, Doncic scored solely 12 factors with 5 assists.

“LaMelo’s displaying progress each single recreation,” Hornets coach James Borrego told media postgame. “He had his fingerprints throughout that recreation…taking part in with poise, confidence. He was a relaxing pressure on the market for us.”

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Ball, the No. 3 general choose within the 2020 NBA Draft, has come off the bench for his first 4 NBA video games. He entered Wednesday night time averaging 6.3 factors per recreation — he’d made a couple of highlights, particularly as a passer, however his influence had been fairly minimal.

That each one modified in opposition to the Mavericks, as Ball got here out aggressively. He obtained to the road quickly after coming into, then dished out a few assists earlier than nailing a 3-pointer from 30 ft out. Then he grabbed an offensive rebound to hit a buzzer beater on the finish of the primary quarter.

By the fourth quarter, with the sport effectively out of attain, Ball hit a right-elbow jumper, a left-wing 3-pointer after which a switch-hands layup to make sure there’d be no Mavs comeback.

One of many greatest considerations about Ball coming into the NBA was his capturing. Within the highlights above, it is apparent his mechanics aren’t standard — there’s a complete lot of leg motion. However in opposition to Dallas, that did not cease him from hitting 4 of his 5 makes an attempt from past the arc.

Ball is at all times going to be a giant story because of his household. His older brother Lonzo performs for the Pelicans, and their father LaVar has made a giant to-do for years about how good his sons are. Whether or not Ball overcomes the varied worries about his recreation in an extended NBA profession stays to be seen.

For one night time, although, Ball appeared like he is likely to be the most effective participant on the ground.

“Melo’s a fantastic participant,” Hornets ahead Miles Bridges told media postgame. “He’s the third choose for a purpose.”

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