LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball go scoreless in Lithuania pro debut: Takeaways
Neither Ball brother was able to hit a shot in Vytautus' loss to Lietkabelis
Lonzo Ball's younger brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, earlier in the week, but as part of the Big Baller Brand Challenge Games, that was technically a friendly match.
Thus, when the boys suited up on Saturday for Vytautus' matchup with Lietkabelis, it was their first professional game. Vytautus showed great heart in battling back from a 20-plus-point deficit, but it was unable to complete the comeback, losing 95-86.
Here are some takeaways from the Ball brothers' first professional contest.
Higher stakes mean less playing time
In the BBB Challenge game a few days earlier, the Ball brothers were given much more playing time and freedom on the court due to the low stakes of the contest. Yes, a team wants to win every time they step on the court, but that friendly was more about getting everyone some minutes and helping the brothers adjust to the Lithuanian game.
This game against Lietkabelis, however, was a regular-season game for the LKL, the Lithuanian basketball league. And with Vytautus stuck in last place, the Ball boys didn't have as much of an opportunity to play. They each still got in, but only for short stretches here and there. Liangelo played just over nine minutes, while LaMelo got in for just over five.
Along with less playing time, LiAngelo and LaMelo also had less freedom in the offense. They each still got some shots up but neither was able to score, combining to go 0-for-7 from the field (LaMelo 0-for-4, LiAngelo 0-for-3).
Both of them came quite close to scoring, however, as LiAngelo had a 3-pointer waved off because he stepped on the sideline just before releasing the shot, and LaMelo had a fastbreak dunk disallowed because it came just after the third quarter buzzer sounded.
LaMelo did have some nice moments on defense, getting a number of deflections. He also stripped one of Lietkabelis' big men in the second half and went coast-to-coast to deliver a nifty pass in transition. It should have been an assist, but his teammate beefed a wide open layup.
LaVar from deep
In what shouldn't come as much of a surprise, LaVar Ball found a way to get involved in the action. For reasons that aren't really clear, LaVar was out on the floor putting up halfcourt shots during halftime. Like his sons, however, he did not make any of them.
Announcers fantastic and hilarious
The announcers for this contest -- which was broadcast on Facebook -- were fantastic. At one point, one announcer shouted out, "LaVar Ball is asleep!" That was not the case, however, and he quickly corrected himself, noting that while he wasn't sleeping, he looked very bored and tired.
They also told a number of great stories, including one about how everyone in Lithuania enjoys basketball. Even the elderly women who sit in Lithuanian parks feeding pigeons will discuss the games, they said.
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