Ball show comes to town as Lakers visit Hornets
The Lonzo Ball show comes to North Carolina for the only time this season when the Los Angeles Lakers visit the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.
The attention-grabbing rookie enjoyed arguably his best game of the season in his only stop at Philadelphia on Wednesday, putting on an all-around display before a national television audience that featured 10 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals and four blocks in a 107-104 win against the 76ers.
The four blocks equaled a season best, while the three steals were two fewer than his season high.
The 20-year-old came within two rebounds and two assists of his third triple-double. Only two players — Russell Westbrook (seven) and Ben Simmons (three) — have recorded more than two triple-doubles this season.
Ball’s first triple-double of the year — 19 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists at Milwaukee on Nov. 11 — came at the age of 20 years and 15 days. He surpassed LeBron James (20 years, 20 days) as the youngest player ever to record a triple-double in the NBA.
The UCLA product’s big night in Philadelphia might have gone for naught if not for teammate Brandon Ingram’s game-winning 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining. Ball assisted on the hoop.
“He made a great pass,” Ingram said in sharing the credit with Ball. “I had the confidence to shoot it.”
The win snapped a five-game Lakers losing streak and tipped off a four-game trip that still has stops remaining in New York and Cleveland.
In the Hornets (9-15), the Lakers (9-15) will be seeing a team playing for the second straight night, both at home.
Charlotte suffered a double-whammy in the opener of the sequence on Friday, which extended into overtime before the Hornets fell 119-111 to the Chicago Bulls.
Four of the five Hornets starters played 40 or more minutes, due in part to the fact that two key reserves — Frank Kaminsky (sprained right ankle) and Cody Zeller (torn meniscus in left knee) — were injured in the club’s previous game and did not play Friday.
Dwight Howard made the most of his 43 minutes, going for 25 points and 20 rebounds.
With two of his big-man sidekicks out of action, Howard got unexpected support from Treveon Graham, who had totaled just eight points in 12 games since Nov. 10.
Graham came off the bench and scored 12 points against the Bulls.
“Treveon did a great job,” Hornets interim coach Stephen Silas said. “I love that kid, the way he fights, the way he hustles. He made some shots tonight. Showed a lot of character, a lot of fight, and he has some skill, too.”
The Hornets swept a pair of tight games from the Lakers last season, including 117-113 last December in Charlotte.
That was before the Lakers used the No. 2 pick in the June draft to select Ball, and the Hornets acquired Howard and his lucrative contract in a trade with his hometown Atlanta Hawks.
Howard led the NBA in rebounds at 12.4 per game in one season with the Lakers in 2012-13.
Playing for Houston and Atlanta, he has faced the Lakers 10 times since, recording eight double-doubles while winning seven times.