NEW ORLEANS – It was Little Brother’s Friday night inside the Smoothie King Center – and almost historic too.
Charlotte Hornets goalie LaMelo Ball almost became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double, as he recorded 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a 118- 110 against the New Orleans Pelicans and his big brother Lonzo Ball.
LaMelo, at 19, 139 days, is said to have passed Markelle Fultz (19, 317 days) to become the youngest to achieve the feat.
The younger Ball’s victory over his big brother was even sweeter considering he had helped the Hornets come back from an 18-point deficit to do so. Helping Gordon Hayward with 3:44 left helped give Charlotte a four-point cushion.
The performance was reminiscent of Lonzo’s second career game for the Los Angeles Lakers, when he also almost became the youngest player to record a triple-double (29 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists). Lonzo finished with just five points, three assists, two rebounds, a block and a steal on Friday.
As Lonzo said on Thursday, this was the first ‘real’ game the two had played against each other – apart from some 2v2 or 3v3 matches in their home yard so that they were children.
Since LaMelo left the bench for the Hornets, their first action on the court together on Friday did not come until it registered at 6:38 of the first quarter. The two only kept each other for a handful of possessions, but the little brother managed to make the most of Lonzo on several occasions, as he wrapped himself around Lonzo for a layup midway through the second quarter and finished the third with a deep 3. pointer with his brother on him.
Ahead of the game, Charlotte coach James Borrego was asked to compare the two, who were the first brothers to each be selected in the top three in the NBA Draft.
“I think they’re leaders there,” Borrego said. “They have a 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 love to play with them. I think this is the greatest thing. ”
LaMelo also became the second youngest Hornet to record a double-double, only Michael Kidd-Gilchrist doing so at a younger age.
Regardless of the outcome, Friday night’s game was the fulfillment of a dream of a lifetime for the siblings.
“When we were younger we would always talk about it,” LaMelo said Thursday. “We always knew we were going to the league. The time has finally come. We are both excited. ”