LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball made their debuts for Lithuanian team Prienu Vytautas on Tuesday as Vytautas beat the Zalgiris reserve team 90-80 in the first game of the Big Baller Brand Challenge.
LiAngelo led Vytautas in scoring with 19 points and added five rebounds. LaMelo chipped in with 10 points.
The game was the first of five in the inaugural Big Baller Brand Challenge Games, named in honor of the Ball family's apparel brand. ESPN's Jeff Goodman shared a look inside the arena:
The first points of LiAngelo's professional basketball career came from the charity stripe with 4:55 left in the first quarter, and LaMelo connected with a free throw at the 2:29 mark of the quarter to open his professional scoring account.
LaMelo started on the bench for Vytautas, and the 16-year-old tried to make up for lost time when he entered the game in the first quarter. Shortly after taking the court, he bricked a pull-up three-pointer from about 30 feet.
Ballislife.com showed the youngest Ball spotting up from the perimeter:
LaMelo settled into the game the longer it went on. He flashed his passing ability when he found Tomas Dimsa on a no-look assist to put Vytautas up 19-16 in the first quarter. Ball also converted a difficult left-handed layup inside while drawing a foul. He hit the free throw to make it a 26-22.
Whereas LaMelo looked to beat opponents off the dribble and create opportunities for his teammates—he dished out nine assists—LiAngelo was focused almost solely on his scoring. According to Lithuanian basketball writer Jonas Miklovas, LiAngelo was 1-of-5 from three-point territory but made seven of his 14 shots from inside the arc.
Hoop magazine's Josh Eberley still wasn't blown away by the former UCLA Bruin:
While the spotlight was on the Ball brothers, ESPN.com's Mike Schmitz thought Zalgiris guard Rokas Jokubaitis, who scored a game-high 31 points, made the biggest impression:
The 17-year-old averaged 10.0 points and 5.3 assists for Lithuania in the 2017 FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup and also averaged 12.4 points and shot 47.9 percent in seven games for Zalgiris at the 2016-17 Adidas Next Generation Tournament.
Jokubaitis will have already been on the radar of NBA scouts and front-office executives, and Tuesday's game provided him an opportunity to showcase his skills in front of a larger audience.
Vytautas' next game comes in the Lithuanian Basketball League when they play BC Lietkabelis on the road Saturday. The Big Baller Brand Challenge will resume Jan. 15 when Vytautas plays host to the BC Lietuvos rytas reserve team.