This is the LaMelo Ball the Charlotte Hornets hoped for when they drafted him.
Four games into his NBA career, Ball flashed the upside Wednesday that made him the No. 3 pick in the draft. The rookie point guard had the best game of his young career by far as the Hornets stunned the Dallas Mavericks, 118-99, in yet another blowout by a road team playing in an empty NBA arena.
Ball found his stroke while leading all scorers in the first half with 15 points. He was less active after halftime, but finished with a game-high 22 points, alongside eight rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes.
LaMelo finds range from distance
He didn’t force shots while shooting 7 of 10 from the field including making 4 of 5 3-pointers. His 3-pointers were largely of the catch-and-shoot variety in the flow of Charlotte’s offense — the exact kind of shots the Hornets want to see him take as his jumper remains a work in progress.
He also showed flashes of the dazzling playmaking ability that made him a top-three pick.
— NBA (@NBA) December 31, 2020
Ball’s rough start in Charlotte
The performance was a welcome sight in Charlotte after Ball struggled in his first three games. Ball went scoreless on five field-goal attempts in his NBA debut. He averaged 6.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and three assists while shooting 33% from the field through three games.
His point total in Dallas eclipsed the 19 he’d previously scored all season. He was the best point guard on the court on Wednesday in a game that Luka Doncic played.
The Mavericks’ MVP candidate was a big factor in Dallas’ struggles as he posted 12 points, five rebounds and two assists. His minus-27 in the plus-minus column was the worst on the team.
Doncic’s rough night hammers home the dangers of lending credence to a one-game sample size in the NBA. But that doesn’t mean Ball and the Hornets won’t sleep well after his big night.
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