LiAngelo, LaMelo Ball Drop 20, 13 Points in Loss vs. Pieno Zvaigzdes

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2018

PRIENAI, LITHUANIA - JANUARY 09:  LiAngelo Ball of Vytautas Prienai in action during the match between Vytautas Prienai and Zalgiris Kauno on January 9, 2018 in Prienai, Lithuania.  (Photo by Alius Koroliovas/Getty Images)
Alius Koroliovas/Getty Images

LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball saw their most significant action in LKL play Sunday during Prienu Vytautas' 116-93 loss to Pieno Zvaigzdes.

LiAngelo finished with 20 points in 25 minutes while his younger brother posted 13 points in 18 minutes of action. Neither player contributed much on defense, however, giving up gaudy offensive numbers to a Zvaigzdes squad that was scoring 79 points on average coming into the game, according to the Ballislife Facebook Live stream.

"I did alright," LiAngelo said of his performance, per the Ballislife broadcast. "Not too happy because we didn't win. That's my main focus, winning.

"I don't think we're all on the same page, really, in terms of switching and knowing if we're going zone," he added when asked about the team's porous defensive effort.

LaMelo did help push a brief surge in the third quarter, per Ballislife, as his insertion into the game helped cut a 22-point deficit to 13 points. The comeback was short-lived, however, and Zvaigzdes cruised from that point on.

On an individual level, it was an improvement for both players compared to their last game in LKL play. In that game, they played a combined 14 minutes against Lietkabelis, missing all seven shots from the field in a Vytautas loss.

After that contest, Vytautas head coach Virginijus Seskus acknowledged there were some difficulties in coaching the young pair, namely LaMelo.

"When I watch them in practices, they stand out, especially the little one. You can’t control that little chipmunk," he said on Lithuanian TV (h/t Josh Martin of USA Today). "You say, 'Don’t shoot 40-footers.' Next thing you know, he’s shooting 40-footers.

"He’s used to doing that stuff. They’re not used to training hard. You need to make them give 100 percent in practices."

Such are the perils of coaching a 16-year-old on a professional team. Seskus did add that the older LiAngelo "takes this stuff more serious" and "tries to involve his brother."

Seskus' next task, it would seem, is getting the Ball brothers—and the rest of his team—to play better defense when they face BC Juventus in their next LKL matchup on Jan. 27. 

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