NBA

LaMelo a 'rare' talent after breaking NBA triple-double record

By Sports Desk January 10, 2021

LaMelo Ball became the youngest player to post a triple-double in NBA history on Saturday and Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego believes he is a "rare" talent.

At 19 years and 140 days old, Hornets rookie Ball put up 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists as Charlotte improved to 5-5 with a 113-105 victory over the Atlanta Hawks at Spectrum Center.

He took the record from Markelle Fultz, who recorded his first triple-double for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018 aged 19 years and 317 days.

Ball's triple-double was the first by a Charlotte player since Nic Batum in March 2018, while he became only the second Hornets rookie to achieve the feat after Kemba Walker.

"He just continuously gets better. He's a special player. He's not fazed by the moment. It's like he's been doing this for a number of years already," said Hornets head coach Borrego.

"He was special tonight. Playmaking, shotmaking, on the boards, made the right decisions. He's a special player.

"I love the person, I love the kid, and more than anything I love his spirit, I love what he brings to our locker room, our organisation. Just proud of him, he was fantastic tonight.

"A 19-year-old rookie does not look like this. This is just rare what you're seeing. I can't get over this kid, he's just a wonderful person to be around, he's humble, he's genuine, he's coachable."

Ball, the third overall pick in this year's draft, retained a level head after achieving something he thinks he will only take stock of in retirement.

"I live my life and I know what I'm capable of, so stuff like this doesn't move me like that. I know that's supposed to happen," he said.

"I've not really processed it yet. Probably when I look back on it after my career when I'm like 40 or something, then I'll probably look back at everything."

Ball was one assist away from a triple-double when the Hornets beat the New Orleans Pelicans and his brother Lonzo Ball on Friday, but he denied that provided him with additional motivation against the Hawks.

"I figured I was one assist away during the game, but pretty much the next day I knew we had another basketball game and came to it like I come to every other basketball game," he said.

"The main goal is always winning. Whenever we get a win, that's great."

Related items

  • Erling Haaland: Just how brilliant has the Borussia Dortmund's star first year been? Erling Haaland: Just how brilliant has the Borussia Dortmund's star first year been?

    Much has changed in the past 12 months but one thing that has stayed the same is the mind-boggling brilliance of Erling Haaland.

    It has been exactly 12 months since the Norway striker made his debut for Borussia Dortmund following a big-money move from Salzburg.

    Haaland came off the bench against Augsburg on that occasion after 56 minutes and scored a hat-trick in a 5-3 win, offering a taste of things to come.

    Here, we have crunched the Opta numbers to highlight just how brilliant Haaland has been.

    Haaland competing with the best

    If you're a football fan, the only way you could have not spotted Haaland's meteoric rise over the last year is if you live under the proverbial rock.

    Indeed, using data across all competitions for the top-five European leagues since his Dortmund debut, only two players can better his tally of 35 goals. 

    Prepare to be shocked here (Narrator: there is zero shock value involved), those players were Robert Lewandowski (49) and Cristiano Ronaldo (40).

    Ciro Immobile, Romelu Lukaku (each 33) and Lionel Messi (29) all trail Haaland, and when we view the numbers through a different lens his past 12 months become even more impressive.

    Both Lewandowski (42) and Ronaldo (40) started more games than Haaland's 29. When looking at goals scored per 90 minutes, the Dortmund's star has 1.18 compared to 1.15 for Lewandowski, and 0.99 for Ronaldo. Surprisingly, Luis Muriel 1.57 heads the way here.

    What is even more startling is the fact Haaland had 102 shots (including blocks) during this period, way down on Messi (253), Ronaldo (235) and Lewandowski (180).

    Indeed, his goals have come from only 58 shots on target. Messi (115), Lewandowski (90) and Ronaldo (85) again head these metrics.

    When looking at shots on target per 90, Haaland (1.96) ranks below Muriel (3.14), Messi (2.53), Kylian Mbappe (2.15), Lewandowski and Ronaldo (each 2.11).

    No one can better Haaland's shot-conversion rate of 34.31 (Lewandowski for comparison is fifth on 27.22), and while Lewandowski (40) and Ronaldo (29) beat the 28 'big chances' he has scored, both have a lower 'big-chance' conversion rate (55.56 and 52.73 to Haaland's 60.87).

    And when it comes to goals/minutes ratio, Haaland's 76.26 is beaten only by Muriel's 55.33. Lewandowski (78.37) and Ronaldo (90.68) are next on the list.

    Bundesliga defences taken to Haal-and back

    May we all take a brief moment to show our thoughts for Bundesliga defences, who have been given a torrid time by Lewandowski over the past year.

    Okay, that's long enough…

    If we crunch similar numbers for goals across all competitions for just Bundesliga strikers, it's not exactly hard to see why Haaland has been such a big star in Germany's top flight.

    While Lewandowski's 49 goals remain a high, Haaland's 35 is still comfortably better than Andre Silva (26) and Wout Weghorst (24).

    The 1.18 goals per 90 minutes is a best among strikers playing in Germany. Lewandowski is of course close behind, but the next best are Lucas Alario (0.86), Andrej Kramaric (0.8) and Silva (0.76).

    Lewandowski (180), Serge Gnabry (112) and Silva (110) have all taken more shots but only Lewandowski's 90 on target beats Haaland's 58. Weghorst (53), Gnabry (52) and Silva (51) are not too far behind.

    Silva (22) and Weghorst (21) have each scored fewer of their 'big chances', while only three players have a higher 'big-chance' conversion among Bundesliga players.

    In terms of goals/minute ratio – Haaland and Lewandowski are the only players below 100. Alario (105.22), Kramaric (112.25) and Silva (117.88) are way off the pace of the superstar duo.

    The main takeaway from all of this is Haaland has been sensational over the past 12 months.

  • Rashford can improve to be England and Man Utd great, says Robson Rashford can improve to be England and Man Utd great, says Robson

    Marcus Rashford still has 5-10 per cent improvement to make as he approaches the prime of his career, according to former Manchester United and England captain Bryan Robson.

    Rashford made it five games without a goal in 2021 as Premier League leaders United played out a goalless draw with champions Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

    Nevertheless, the England forward is enjoying a productive season with 14 goals and six assists in all competitions.

    The 23-year-old has only bettered that goal tally once across the course of an entire campaign, with 22 last term bolstered by six conversions from eight Premier League penalties - duties that now lie with Bruno Fernandes.

    He netted one spot kick in the 4-1 Champions League win over Istanbul Basaksehir this time around and his 12 open-play goals in Europe's elite competition and the Premier League came from shots with a cumulative xG value of eight - highlighting some impressive efficiency in front of goal.

    "Marcus is getting to an age where he’s maturing and will come to his prime soon," Robson told Stats Perform News.

    "I think he’s really improved over the last two years. He's worked really hard on his physique and fitness. But I do believe there’s another 5-10 percent in Marcus.

    "When things get easy for him in games he becomes a little bit lazy on the ball and gives it away more than he should.

    "But that’s probably because we know he can create with a great pass, and sometimes when you're that little bit younger you don't have that real strong mentality to go further.

    "I think he can go on to be a great player for Man United and England."

    Although Anthony Martial opened the scoring in the 2-1 New Year's Day victory over Aston Villa, Rashford's fellow forward has found the going tougher in front of goal overall this season.

    The France international has five goals in 22 games, with just two in 14 in the Premier League.

    Robson believes the 25-year-old can sometimes struggle for confidence, while also highlighting his heavy workload as United's 2019-20 schedule ran on until the Europa League semi-final defeat to Sevilla in August.

    "It was a long season for a few of the lads," he said. "It took a few of them quite a time to get going, they had no pre-season after Sevilla loss.

    "I think it affected [Martial]. I don't think he's a totally confident lad.

    "I think he needs encouraging, but I'm sure as the season goes on he just needs a run of games with a couple of goals."

  • Spot-on Pereira punishes Wolves, more Yorkshire gains for Kane - the Premier League weekend's quirky facts Spot-on Pereira punishes Wolves, more Yorkshire gains for Kane - the Premier League weekend's quirky facts

    Willy Boly had an eventful derby and there was a penalty double for Matheus Pereira as West Brom boss Sam Allardyce maintained his unbeaten record against the team he used to support as a boy.

    Albion claimed a huge victory in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League at Molineux on Saturday, beating bitter rivals Wolves 3-2.

    There was no such entertainment at Anfield on Sunday, with a hugely hyped clash between Liverpool and leaders Manchester United ending goalless, while Antonee Robinson's red card was costly as Fulham were beaten by Chelsea.

    Ilkay Gundogan matched his best Manchester City goal tally for a season in a 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace, while Tottenham captain Harry Kane made his mark in Yorkshire yet again 

    With the help of Opta data, we take a look at some of the quirkiest stats from the top-flight action over the weekend.

     

    Boly in thick of the action as Wolves pay the penalty 

    West Brom ended an eight-match winless run to claim three precious points against their big rivals Wolves.

    Defender Boly became the first Wolves player to concede a penalty, provide an assist and score in a Premier League game since Adlene Guedioura in May 2011 - which was also against West Brom at Molineux.

    Baggies midfielder Pereira was on target with two spot-kicks, becoming the fifth player to score a brace of penalties in a top-flight game this season. The last time there were so many penalty doubles was back in the 2010-11 campaign.

    Allardyce was a Wolves fan as a youngster, but his allegiances have long gone out of the window, as the Albion head coach has not lost in 12 Premier League games against Wanderers - his longest unbeaten streak against any side.

     

    Gun firing on all cylinders

    Kevin De Bruyne sparkled once again as in-form City hammered Palace to go second in the table.

    The midfield maestro laid on one of two goals for John Stones, taking his tally of assists for City to a landmark 100.

    Gundogan is another midfielder who has caught the eye this season and the Germany international was on target with a sublime long-range finish at the Etihad Stadium.

    The former Borussia Dortmund playmaker has scored four goals in his past six Premier League games, as many as he could muster in his previous 55 matches in the top flight. His tally of six for the season is the joint-most he has scored for City.

     

    Kane comes up smelling of White Roses again

    Prolific Spurs skipper Kane led by example yet again in a 3-1 win at bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United.

    Kane scored his 19th goal of what is proving to be another outstanding season in Tottenham's first league win at Bramall Lane since 1975, having failed to secure maximum points in their previous seven visits.

    England captain Kane has scored in each of his past six Premier League games in Yorkshire, a run that former Leeds United striker Mark Viduka was the last to achieve in 2003.

    Leeds will have to be wary of the talismanic striker when Jose Mourinho's men return to the White Rose county for a clash at Elland Road on May 8.

     

    Dire States: Rash Robinson costs Fulham

    Fulham full-back Robinson was sent off late in the first half of the London derby at Craven Cottage for a rash lunge on Cesar Azpilicueta.

    Chelsea had to be patient as they pushed for a winner, but Mason Mount struck to consign Scott Parker's relegation-threatened side to a 1-0 defeat.

    Robinson was the eighth player from the United States to be given his marching orders in the Premier League.

    The former Wigan Athletic left-back's dismissal also made Fulham the first club to have two players from the USA see red, Carlos Bocanegra being the other.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.