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LaMelo Ball dominates versus brother Lonzo as Hornets top Pelicans

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LaMelo Ball dominates versus brother Lonzo as Hornets top Pelicans 1

NEW ORLEANS — Gordon Hayward scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half and the Charlotte Hornets methodically came back from an 18-point, second-quarter deficit to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 118-110 on Friday night.

“He’s a pro. He’s been here before. He’s not fazed by a bad half, a bad quarter,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “He gives us a calming force, a presence that we may not have had in the past.

“Even in that fourth quarter as that game got tight, there was no panic,” Borrego added. “And a lot of it has to do with Gordon finishing.”

The game marked the first time brothers Lonzo and LaMelo Ball — both top-three draft choices within the past four years — played against one another. LaMelo Ball, picked No. 3 overall in 2020, had the better night, nearly notching a triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

“He was free and easy out there, kind of what we expect now,” Borrego said. “He’s not fazed by the moment.”

Although the Ball brothers were matched up only intermittently, LaMelo Ball hit a 3 with his brother guarding him and also blocked his brother’s driving layup.

Lonzo Ball, the No. 2-overall draft pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017, missed 6 of 7 3-point shots and finished with five points.

“It was cool to be out there with him,” LaMelo Ball said. “Whenever we win, I feel it works out great.”

Miles Bridges scored 20 points and Devonte Graham had 17 for the Hornets, who didn’t take their first lead until the fourth quarter, when they outscored New Orleans 36-23.

Zion Williamson scored 26 points and Josh Hart had 19 for the Pelicans, who’ve lost three straight, all at home.

“There is some frustration because I just want to win,” Williamson said of the recent skid, characterized by untimely defensive lapses. “We’ve got to hold ourselves accountable for those types of losses, whether it’s the turnovers, whether it’s the lack of rotation, communication.”

Brandon Ingram added 17 points but was 3-of-10 shooting. JJ Redick also scored 17 for New Orleans, hitting four 3s.

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