Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, 19, outdueled his big brother Lonzo Ball in their first NBA clash as the Hornets claimed a surprise 118-110 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on the road. LaMelo, who was taken at No. 3 in this past NBA draft, nearly became the youngest player ever to record a triple-double in an NBA game as be posted 12 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists in a win over the Pelicans.
After the game, LaMelo said he wasn't sacred of the moment as ESPN broadcasted the game on national TV. Meanwhile, Lonzo collected 5 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists. "Not at all. I've been in this for a minute now," LaMelo said after the victory, per ESPN.
"I had ESPN games since I was a kid. So it was all normal." Hornets head coach James Borrego was proud of LaMelo after the game. "That's kind of what we expect of him," Borrego said postgame. "It's like he's done this before, he's been there before.
He's not fazed by the moment. I'm just proud of him. He's a fantastic player. He energizes our group. He brings us great confidence, a swagger that we need, at times. I thought he was fantastic tonight."
LaMelo Ball drained three in Lonzo's face
At the end of the third quarter, LaMelo hit a three-pointer while his brother Lonzo was guarding him.
"It was just a side step and I pulled the 3," LaMelo explained. In 2017, Lonzo was taken by the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2 in the NBA draft. "I think they are leaders out there," Borrego said of the Ball brothers.
"They've got great vision. You can tell they know the game at a high level. I think that's the common thread, is that they both understand the game at a high level and their teammates like playing with them. I think that's the biggest thing."
Before the game, LaMelo revealed he and brother often went head-to-head in their backyard as kids. "That's probably the most competitive basketball I've been in -- in the backyard, back there fighting, scrapping, falling on concrete, playing hella hard," LaMelo said.
"Parents getting scared when their kids go back there. It was a whole lot. Just something you had to witness, for real." On Friday, the Ball brothers faced off for the first time on an NBA court. "When we were younger, we always talked about it," LaMelo said.
"We always knew we were going to the league. Now the time has finally come. We're both excited."