CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte Hornets overcame the third-biggest opening night deficit in the NBA’s last 25 years to win a 123-122 thriller over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, but the thing that left everyone talking happened afterward.
LaMelo Ball, fresh off a 31-point performance as a catalyst in the comeback, wore a self-made suit which teammate Gordon Hayward called “a statement”.
The Hornets trailed by as many as 23 points in the second half but used a 24-0 run spanning 6:18 of game time in the third quarter to take their first lead of the game.
“I feel like we all just locked in, instead of how the game kinda started,” Ball said of the team’s mesmerizing unanswered streak. “It was pretty much just going down getting one shot, not really getting into the flow of the game. But when that happened, I feel like we all really locked in.”
This opener drew comparisons to a 24-point comeback in the first game back with the Hornets name, a 108-106 home-opening win for Charlotte against the Milwaukee Bucks in 2014. That win is the largest deficit overcome in team history.
As for LaMelo’s postgame attire? Hayward made it sound like he’s good with whatever works.
“When [LaMelo] plays like he did tonight,” Hayward said, “he can wear whatever he wants.”
Charlotte returns to action Friday night in Cleveland, which you can hear on the flagship station for the Hornets, 102.5 FM/610 AM WFNZ.