Photo credit: @hornets/Twitter
By Kriel Ibarrola

The Hive was once again buzzing non-stop after LaMelo Ball made his highly anticipated return from injury for the Charlotte Hornets against the Detroit Pistons at Spectrum Center on Saturday.

It didn’t take long for the 19-year-old phenom to make his presence felt in the game, as he showed the Hornets what they’ve been missing for the past 21 games.

Around the seven-and-a-half-minute mark of the opening period, Melo hooked up with his favorite target Miles Bridges for a sweet 80-foot underhand pass.

That dazzling feed certainly took the Pistons’ defense by surprise as they were just jogging back on defense. The pin-point dish landed on Bridges hands near the hoop, as he scooped up the easy lay-in to complete the highlight.

Ball’s return certainly gave the Hornets a major boost, as they came away with a 107-94 home win.

Hornets head coach James Borrego was confident enough to put Melo back in the starting unit and had him on the floor for 28 minutes.

The third overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft did not disappoint, tallying his usual all-around numbers of 11 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and two blocks.

Ball suffered a wrist fracture back in March, which was initially diagnosed as a season-ending injury. The 6-foot-6 playmaker, however, healed just in time for the Hornets as they try to keep their position in the Top 8 of the Eastern Conference Standings.

Charlotte has somehow kept it afloat sans their dynamic rookie, as they went 10-11 in his absence. They currently hold the eight seed with a 31-32 slate.

Before his untimely injury, Ball was considered the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year plum, with stellar averages of 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.1 assists (1st) in 41 games.

He’s still the favorite to be named ROY by season’s end, especially if he continues to play like this in the coming games. 

It only gets better for the Hornets from here on out, as Malik Monk also returned from injury, while Gordon Hayward is also progressing from his right foot sprain.


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