CHARLOTTE, N.C. — LaMelo Ball isn’t wasting any time making an impact in the NBA.
The rookie point guard became the youngest player in league history to record a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists on Saturday night, helping the Charlotte Hornets beat the Atlanta Hawks 113-105 for their third straight win.
“A 19-year-old rookie does not look like this,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “This is rare what you’re seeing.”
Ball’s history-making performance came just two nights after he missed out on his first triple-double when he finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a win over his brother Lonzo’s New Orleans Pelicans.
He said he hasn’t begun to process the accomplishment.
“I live my life and I know what I’m capable of, so stuff like this doesn’t move me like that,” Ball said. “I know that’s supposed to happen.”
“He’s a tall PG who can pass, can rebound and he’s a smart player,” said Atlanta’s Trae Young. “Things are going to become even easier for him in this league as he plays more and more games.”
Ball tied his highest scoring night on 9-of-13 shooting from the field as the Hornets handed the struggling Hawks their fourth straight loss. He became only the fifth rookie in NBA history to record a triple-double and the first Hornets player to do it coming off the bench.
Borrego said he loves Ball’s spirit and his energy, but what has impressed him the most is his poise and confidence.
“He’s not rattled by the moment. It’s like he’s been doing this for a number of years,” Borrego said of Ball, who played overseas before becoming the third pick in the NBA draft.
Ball had several sharp passes, including a perfect behind-the-back strike to set up a 3-pointer by P.J. Washington.
“It’s tough because you don’t know when it’s coming. He might throw it behind his head, behind his back or straight to you,” joked Washington, who had 22 points and was on the receiving end of several of Ball’s passes. “You have to be active and aware when he has the ball. It’s always fun playing with a guy like that.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.