LaMelo Ball heard the chants. It was impossible not to.
With the Hornets in the middle of an astonishing 26-2 run, the Charlotte crowd showered the young star with MVP chants.
“Yeah definitely, I heard it,” said Ball in a postgame interview. “The city turnt. I love it. We’re gonna keep on trying to win.”
Pushing their lead beyond 20 points early in the third quarter, the Indiana Pacers looked like they were in cruise control until the stunning Charlotte run saw the game turned on its head.
Ball scored 12 of his 31 points in the third quarter, sparking a dramatic 123-122 home win.
Adding nine rebounds, seven assists and seven makes from beyond the 3-point line, it was a statement opening night performance from last season’s Rookie of the Year winner.
“I just go out there and hoop. That’s all I go out there and do. All my life I’ve been a leader so I’m still trying to do that.”
A pair of clutch free-throws from P.J. Washington with 4.6 seconds left gave Charlotte the lead, before Domantas Sabonis missed from close range to secure the win for the Hornets.
All the usual highlights were featured in Ball’s performance.
The long range bombs.
Alongside Ball, the Hornets received big contributions from Gordon Hayward with 27 points and Ish Smith with 14 points and five assists off the bench.
The Hornets now hit the road to face Cleveland after one night off but if opening night is anything to go by, the Hornets will again be must watch in 2021-22.