LaMelo Ball's masterful performance spoils Kyrie Irving's homecoming

2022-03-28 02:48
Credit: AFP - Scanpix, USA TODAY Sports - Scanpix | Basketnews illustration
Credit AFP - Scanpix, USA TODAY Sports - Scanpix | Basketnews illustration

LaMelo Ball scored 33 points and handed out nine assists, leading the Charlotte Hornets (39-36) to a 119-110 (26-32, 30-28, 37-28, 26-21) victory over the Brooklyn Nets (39-36) on Sunday night to spoil Kyrie Irving's first home game of the season.

Ball scored 18 points and hit five of his seven 3-pointers during the third quarter when the Hornets (39-36) outscored the Nets 37-29 after trailing by 14 almost midway through the second quarter. Ball made 10 of 21 shots from the field and hit seven of Charlotte's 17 3-pointers.

Irving finished with 16 points and 11 assists after not being permitted to play in any Brooklyn home games because of New York City's rules on unvaccinated athletes. The rules were lifted on Thursday.

Player of the Game
LaMelo  Ball
LaMelo Ball
Points 33
Accuracy 10-21
Rebounds 7
Assists 9

Miles Bridges added 24 points as Charlotte pulled into an eighth-place tie with Brooklyn (39-36) in the Eastern Conference. Washington contributed 18 points and Terry Rozier 14 as the Hornets won for the seventh time in eight games.

Kevin Durant led the Nets with 27 points, and Andre Drummond collected 20 points and 17 rebounds.

Ball was scoreless during the fourth quarter when the Hornets fended off Brooklyn's comeback try down the stretch, but he contributed a key assist that helped Charlotte seal the win.

Irving scored eight straight points to give Brooklyn a 106-105 lead with 3:36 remaining, but the Hornets never trailed after P.J. Washington coasted in for a layup with 3:21 left.

After Brooklyn's Drummond missed a putback, Ball passed out of a double team to Cody Martin, who hit a 3-pointer from the left side for a 110-106 edge with 2:30 remaining.

The Nets were within 110-108 after Seth Curry hit a layup with 1:33 left, but Martin hit another 3-pointer late in the shot clock on the next possession, and Rozier made a 3-pointer with 47.3 seconds left for a 116-108 lead to clinch it.

In the second quarter, Brooklyn opened a 50-36 lead on Curry's 16-footer with 5:11 left but settled for a 60-56 halftime lead when Durant hit a layup with 3.2 seconds left.

The Hornets led 93-89 entering the fourth quarter.

Nets: Kevin Durant 27 (6/13 2PT, 3/11 3PT, 6/6 FT, 8 REB, 7 AST), Andre Drummond 20 (7/12 2PT, 6/11 FT, 17 REB, 3 STL, 3 BLK), Kyrie Irving 16 (5/13 2PT, 1/9 3PT, 11 REB, 2 BLK), Seth Curry 12 (2/6 3PT), Bruce Brown 10 (5/9 2PT, 6 REB).

Hornets: LaMelo Ball 33 (3/9 2PT, 7/12 3PT, 6/8 FT, 7 REB, 9 AST, 3 STL), Miles Bridges 24 (6/18 2PT, 3/6 3PT, 8 REB), P.J. Washington 18 (6/9 2PT, 2/3 3PT, 11 REB, 5 AST), Terry Rozier 14 (3/7 2PT, 2/5 3PT, 7 REB, 4 AST).

Full game highlights:

LaMelo Ball highlights:

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