The Charlotte Hornets began their 2021-22 season on Wednesday night at home against the Indiana Pacers. That meant reigning Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball got to take the court in front of his own rabid fanbase.
And he didn't disappoint.
Ball exploded for 31 points, seven assists and nine rebounds in just his second season opener. He went 11-for-23 from the floor and shot a remarkable 7-of-9 from beyond the arc in his 32nd NBA start.
Ball was masterful on Wednesday in the Hornets come-from-behind, 123-122 victory over the Pacers. He
LaMelo Ball (20 years, 59 days) is the 3rd-youngest player with 30 points in a season opener in NBA history. Only Lamar Odom (19-361) and John Drew (20-18) were younger. pic.twitter.com/CvYUwUbyQV
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 21, 2021
">became the third-youngest player in league history to score 30+ points in a season opener at just 20 years and 59 days of age.
Not only was Ball's performance a perfect follow-up to his Rookie of the Year campaign, but he also helped lead the Hornets in a massive comeback effort. Charlotte trailed 75-59 at halftime before going on a 23-2 run in the third quarter.
Ball has all of the tools to make a major leap in Year 2, but nobody could've anticipated him coming out of the gates so fast this season. NBA Twitter still loved every second of his performance on Wednesday and joined together to celebrate his sophomore debut.
Ball's rookie year was a rollercoaster, so the Hornets will be pleased to see him start out so fast this fall. Even with his early struggles last season, the former high school sensation was able to right the ship and put together an impressive campaign.
In a year that featured a fractured wrist and a battle to get into the starting lineup, Ball managed to average 15.7 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 35.2 percent from three. His playmaking ability was on display all season long, which made for quite a few viral clips throughout the year.
Ball's performance on Wednesday is part of an ideal start for Charlotte, which hopes to make a leap up the Eastern Conference standings this season. So long as their star point guard keeps playing at such a high level, the Hornets should be in good shape.