WATCH: Hornets’ LaMelo Ball Catches Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis Off-Guard and Puts Him on a Poster

Published 01/29/2021, 10:32 PM EST
Jan 14, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) brings the ball up the court during the first quarter of a game against the Toronto Raptors at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports


The Charlotte Hornets played host to Eastern Conference rivals Indiana Pacers tonight. After losing their previous games to the Indiana side, the Hornets came back for revenge and narrowly beat them by three points. Without a doubt, one of the biggest highlights of the game was provided by Hornets’ rookie LaMelo Ball.

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During the late third quarter, Devonte’ Graham tried for a layup but missed. As the ball bounced on the rim, Ball came charging in to finish it off.

The Pacers’ defense was caught off-guard, especially Domantas Sabonis, as Ball finished the putback with a poster dunk over him. The 6’8 point guard has shown his athleticism before, but this was one of his best dunks of the season.

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Ball finished with 16 points, six rebounds, and seven assists. He came off the bench once again but provided the spark they needed to cause this upset win.

Is LaMelo Ball a frontrunner for Rookie of the Year?

Earlier this month, the NBA announced that LaMelo was leading the rookie power rankings after the first three weeks. But since then, his form has dipped considerably. Out of their last nine games, he has had double figures point totals only four times. His shooting numbers have also dropped during this run.

On the other hand, the other favorite, James Wiseman, is going through a purple patch. He has stepped up recently and has been a key contributor to the Warriors’ limited success. If Wiseman continues this form, he will be expected to be at the top of the rookie power rankings next time.

Jan 10, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman (33) dunks during the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

One of the main reasons for Ball’s dip in form is his minutes’ reduction. In their recent games, his playing time has reduced, and it is because of Coach James Borrego. He recently revealed that Ball isn’t starting and is playing reduced minutes because of his carelessness.

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He said, “If you’re turning the ball over five times in 16 minutes, that ain’t gonna cut it for me. If you’re doing that on the offensive end, you better be bringing something defensively.”

Jan 16, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) looks on against the Toronto Raptors during the first quarter at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Ball had five turnovers tonight, but had seven assists to make up for it. He will be keen to improve this aspect of his game to ensure he can play more minutes and stay in the hunt for Rookie of the Year.

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Aaron Mathew

1666 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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