The battle of the Ball brothers took centre stage in New Orleans, as the Hornets and Pelicans battled it out in front of a national TV audience.
LaMelo ultimately fell one assist shy of a triple-double, but it mattered little, as his Hornets picked up an important road win over Lonzo and the Pelicans.
Falling behind by double-digits in the first half, Charlotte ground out the comeback win to pull away in the final minutes.
"I would say this is a resilient win to fight back from being down eighteen. We believed over time our system and our style would win out and it turned for us. It was just a matter of time," Hornets head coach James Borrego said postgame.
LaMelo fills up the box score
Almost pulling off the classic Jason Kidd triple-double, LaMelo finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
It was the latest impressive statline for the teenage rookie, despite the efficiency not quite being there as he shot just 4-for-11 from the field.
Without taking over the game, this buzzer beater to end the third quarter while being guarded by Lonzo was a highlight.
LaMelo steps back to beat the 3rd quarter buzzer and is up to 12 PTS, 9 REB, 7 AST! pic.twitter.com/0bDpxNgzAG- NBA (@NBA) January 9, 2021
With starting guard Devonte' Graham's shooting struggles to start the season, there is some thought that Ball could be inserted into the starting lineup before long.
Ball is currently first among rookies for assists and second in scoring and rebounding, as his case for early Rookie of the Year contention remains strong.
While LaMelo took the W in this one, Lonzo was awfully quiet, finishing with just five points on 2-for-8 shooting in 36 mins of court time.
Zion monsters Hornets early
Aside from the Ball brothers, it was Zion Williamson who threatened to end the intrigue early in this one with his hulking presence inside proving too much to handle for the Charlotte interior defence.
Williamson was a major reason for the Pelicans 36-22 lead after one frame, as he consistently powered his way under the basket to finish.
The former No. 1 overall pick did cool off as the Pelicans' lead dwindled, though he did still manage to finish with 26 points and eight rebounds.
A major highlight of the night for Zion was this powerful slam through contact.
Zion is cleared for takeoff ✈️🔨- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) January 9, 2021
Watch on League Pass
Gordon Hayward stays hot
Coming off a 40-point outing, the Hornets marquee acquisition again lead the way with 26 points and seven rebounds.
Scoring on all three levels, Hayward finished an efficient 4-for-7 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Averaging 22.3 points per game, the veteran wing is taking an offensive role similar to his days in Utah after largely becoming a role player in Boston due to inujuries and depth on the wing.
Hayward's USG% of 24.5 thus far this season is his highest mark since 2016-17 - his final season with the Jazz.
Charlotte is now 4-5 on the season, just 0.5 games back of the final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
.@gordonhayward from DEEP 👌#AllFly | @HornetsOnFSSE pic.twitter.com/FQzBnCPKsS- Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) January 9, 2021
Charlotte won't have long to savour this win, with a trip home to face Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks on tap tomorrow, while New Orleans will head to Dallas to meet the Mavericks after a rare two-night break.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.