LaMelo Ball Drops 44, LA Loses to New York in Junior Basketball Association

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 30, 2018

PRIENAI, LITHUANIA - JANUARY 09:  LaMelo Ball of Vytautas Prienai prior to 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

LaMelo Ball got his first taste of defeat in the Junior Basketball Association when Los Angeles was upended by New York 130-108 on Friday at the David Mack Arena in Queens, New York. 

The 16-year-old Ball finished with a game-high 44 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, eight turnovers and fouled out with under five minutes remaining. He came into the game averaging 39.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists in the first two JBA games. 

This marks the second straight game in which Ball has fouled out for Los Angeles. 

As has been the case throughout his tenure in Lithuania with Prienu Vytautas and now in the JBA, Ball is struggling to find consistency with his shooting technique. The former UCLA commit attempted 20 of Los Angeles' 55 shots in the first half but only connected on six shots for 17 points. 

For the game, Ball went 12-of-35 overall, including 0-of-9 from three-point range. He was matched nearly point for point by New York's Calvin Brown, who had 40 on 17-of-22 shooting. The New York star added 10 rebounds and two blocks. 

Brown also received support from Nolan Irby, who had a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds in his JBA debut. 

New York took a 65-52 lead into halftime, and things never turned around for Ball's squad after the intermission. 

Another aspect of this league that has been made clear in its first week is that defense doesn't really matter. In Los Angeles' three games, the losing team has scored at least 108 points. 

In addition to poor defense, L.A. couldn't buy a three-point basket to save itself. The team combined to shoot 5-of-35 from behind the arc, making it impossible to capitalize on New York's 36 turnovers. 

Los Angeles won't have to wait long to get back on the court to figure out what went wrong on Friday. It will take on Dallas from the Infinite Energy Center in Atlanta on July 3.

   

Stats via USAToday.com.

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