Wednesday, January 19, 2022

LaMelo Ball helps Hornets secure second straight win over Bucks with brilliant floater in closing seconds

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Young Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball added another highlight to his ever-growing reel on Monday night when he tossed in a brilliant, go-ahead floater in the closing seconds of a 103-99 win over the Milwaukee Bucks

Despite leading by 15 in the third quarter, the Hornets were staring down a potential overtime period after Wesley Matthews tied the game at 99-99 on a putback with 35.4 seconds remaining. Ball stepped up on the ensuing possession to make sure there was no extra basketball. 

Controlling up top, Ball waited for the shot clock to wind down, then started driving hard to his right hand. When he got right about to the elbow, he suddenly planted, lifted the ball way over his head (and Matthews in defense), and drifted sideways across the paint. As he hung in mid-air, he floated the ball up and in to put the Hornets up for good with 15.4 seconds left. It was a stellar display of athleticism, ingenuity and body control. 

Ball finished the night with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists in another solid all-around performance. Now in his second season in the league, he’s starting to figure things out and has even generated some All-Star buzz with averages of 19.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game. 

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But while Ball stole the headlines yet again, the bigger story is that the Hornets beat the defending champion Bucks for a second straight time, and have now won three games in a row to improve to 22-19. Though they’ve been streaky, these last two wins show the potential of this young Hornets squad. They currently sit in eighth place in the East, but are just three games behind the fourth-place Bucks, and have a real chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. 

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