Southeast Notes: LaMelo, Hornets, Wizards, Magic

Reigning Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball drew MVP chants on opening night, and with good reason. Ball recorded 31 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as the Hornets edged the visiting Pacers, 123-122.LaMelo Ball

That made him the youngest player to record at least 30 points, five rebounds, and five assists in a season opener.

“He takes his game to another level when he’s making shots,” Hornets coach James Borrego said of Ball, via Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer.

Ball said he has been putting in the work to make it happen.

“I just stay in the gym, work on my game and go out there and feel confident in every shot I take,” he said.

Still, this was a team-wide effort in the truest sense for the Hornets. They also received 27 points from Gordon Hayward, and 14 each from newcomers Kelly Oubre Jr. and Ish Smith

“We picked up the ball and made them feel us all third quarter,” Borrego said of the comeback win.

More from the Southeast

  • The Wizards have some new faces in the likes of Spencer Dinwiddie, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell, and coach Wes Unseld Jr. But it was old face Bradley Beal (23 points) who led the way in a road win over the Raptors. “I just like the way we played,” Unseld said. “We started strong, we talked about having momentum. We knew at the start they were going to play with high energy and be very physical. We weathered the storm and made shots early.”
  • The Magic’s first game of their new era was struggle, as they suffered a blowout road loss vs. the Spurs. But Orlando started rookies Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, and new coach Jamahl Mosley expects this to be a process. The Magic committed 16 turnovers (compared to eight for the Spurs). “We need to move the ball a little bit more, make the quick pass, and that led to some of the turnovers that got them out on transition,” Mosley said. “When you turn it over, you’re giving them free points.”

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