Basketball: Duo serve up treat with triple-doubles

Lakers guard Lonzo Ball is defended by Hornets guard Kemba Walker at the Spectrum Centre in Charlotte. The Lakers won 128-100 for a seventh victory in nine games.
Lakers guard Lonzo Ball is defended by Hornets guard Kemba Walker at the Spectrum Centre in Charlotte. The Lakers won 128-100 for a seventh victory in nine games.PHOTOS: REUTERS, INSTAGRAM/KINGJAMES
LeBron James embracing Ball. The photo on Instagram pulled in over one million likes in seven hours.
LeBron James embracing Ball. The photo on Instagram pulled in over one million likes in seven hours.PHOTOS: REUTERS, INSTAGRAM/KINGJAMES

Lakers' LeBron and Lonzo are first to achieve feat in 11 years as team's recovery continues

CHARLOTTE (North Carolina) • LeBron James posted a photo of him embracing Los Angeles Lakers teammate Lonzo Ball on his Instagram account on Saturday night, following the 128-100 National Basketball Association win in Charlotte.

It had gathered more than a million likes within seven hours, and the fanfare for the duo was not surprising after they both had triple-doubles to lift their team to the victory over the Hornets.

James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, scored 24 points with 11 assists and 12 rebounds while Ball, the second overall selection in the 2017 draft, added 16 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.

It was the first time two NBA teammates achieved the feat in the same game since Jason Kidd and Vince Carter did it for the Nets in 2007.

James and Ball also became the first Lakers teammates to do it since Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1982.

"I mean, any time you can put yourself in the conversation with Laker history and all the guys who came through this franchise, it's pretty special," James said on ESPN. "And tonight is another example of that. We just try to do a little bit of everything to help our team win.

"We're one and the same when it comes to our playmaking ability. We're always looking for our teammates, and that's the greatest satisfaction we can have when we see our teammates score the ball.

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    Triple-doubles by LeBron James and Lonzo Ball. The last time two teammates achieved the mark in the same game was Jason Kidd and Vince Carter in 2007.

"And then being able to put the ball in the hole as well. We just try to be aggressive, attack the rim, make shots from the outside when guys disrespect us, and we showed all of that tonight."

For James, it was also the continuation of a personal domination over teams from Charlotte. James now has a record of 47-6 against the Hornets and Bobcats during his 16-year career with the Lakers, Cleveland and Miami.

The Lakers also got 19 points from JaVale McGee, 14 from Kyle Kuzma and 12 from Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk.

Kemba Walker was held to a season-low four points for the Hornets on 2-of-13 shooting from the field. Malik Monk led the Hornets with 19 points, and Miles Bridges scored 17. Jeremy Lamb added 12 and Willy Hernangomez 11.

Los Angeles (18-11) have now won seven of their last nine games. The Hornets (14-15) completed a horrid weekend after blowing a 21-point lead in an overtime loss to the New York Knicks on Friday.

What was also impressive for the Lakers was that both James and Ball had completed their triple-doubles with plenty of margin.

After helping the team outscore the Hornets 40-17 in the third quarter, James sat out the entire fourth and Ball played just five minutes of the final period.

Ball added five steals as the Lakers came back with a vengeance from a 126-111 loss to the Houston Rockets on Thursday.

He said: "Ever since he (James) got here, it's been a dream come true for me. I watched him my whole life - he was my idol growing up. Then we both got a triple-double in the same game. I don't even know if I dreamt of that before. It was a good day today."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2018, with the headline 'Duo serve up treat with triple-doubles'. Print Edition | Subscribe