By R.L. Bynum
It was big night for UNC alums in the NBA with a career-high 36 points from Coby White, the best games of the season for Danny Green and Reggie Bullock and news that will mean more playing time for Cole Anthony.
Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford has said that he wants to take it slowly with Anthony. That meant that Clifford hasn’t started him and has limited his playing time.
All of that changed in the first quarter Wednesday night when starting point guard Markelle Fultz suffered a season-ending injury in a 105–94 home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
On a drive during the first quarter, Fultz’s left knee gave way, he crumpled to the floor and had to be helped off the court. The team said that he suffered a torn left ACL.
In the first seven games, Anthony only played more than 20 minutes in two games that were decided by 20 or more points. Wednesday, he played a season-high 32 minutes and collected eight points, four rebounds and three assists. He struggled with his shot, making only 4 of 12 shots and missing all four 3-point attempts.
Fultz was averaging 30.1 minutes per game. Jordan Bone also got time Wednesday at point guard because third-string point guard Michael Carter-Williams is out with a sprained ligament and a bone bruise in his left foot.
The frustrating part for White is that his career night wasn’t enough for his Chicago Bulls to beat Harrison Barnes’ Sacramento Kings.
“We didn’t get the win so [the career-high] doesn’t really matter to me,” White said. “That’s what point guards are judged on, wins and losses.”
In a 128–124 road loss to the Kings, White was 15 of 23 from the floor, 4 of 9 from 3-point range and dished out seven assists against no turnovers for an eye-popping career-high 31.3 game score.
White scored 17 of his points in the first half, when he made all four inside shots, including three in the restricted area, meaning he was finishing his drives well. On one drive, he scored on Barnes. For the game, he made 11 of 12 inside shots.
As big as the 36 points were, his seven assists against no turnovers in 40 minutes were also impressive. It was his first game with no turnovers this season.
It was White’s first game with more than 30 points this season. He had three such games last season that all happened in three games over four days in late February: 33 on Feb. 22 in a home loss to Phoenix, 33 on Feb. 23 in a home win over Washington and 35 in a Feb. 25 home loss to Oklahoma City. The latter was his previous career-high point total and his previous career-high game score of 27.9.
Chicago coach Billy Donovan said he told White that he got to the level he reached Wednesday because of his scoring.
“But if you ask him what he really wants to become, he’ll tell you he wants to become a real point guard. But I think it’s going to be a work in progress with him,” Donovan said. “He has always had a mentality of looking to score and being aggressive. It’s OK to be aggressive. But a lot of times as a point guard, you have to understand there are four other people that are relying on you organizing things. And obviously, I try to help him from the bench. And we’ve had really good discussions and really good film sessions together. And I want him to be aggressive. I want him to be who he is. But I told him he should evaluate his job based on what kind of shots we are getting as a team, not maybe how well he is scoring.”
Barnes was solid again, with a 20-point, 5-assist game, his third game of at least 20 points this season.
In the Philadelphia 76ers’ 141–136 home win over Washington, Danny Green played a season-high 30 minutes and also put up season-high totals of 15 points, five 3-pointers and five assists as well as a season-high 14.6 game score. For the fifth consecutive game and the seventh time in eight games this season, Tony Bradley didn’t play for the Sixers.
The Wizards’ Bradley Beal scored 60 points, but they weren’t enough.
After only playing in one of the Detroit Pistons’ first six games, coming off the bench in that one, Wayne Ellington started his second consecutive game Wednesday. In their 130–115 loss at Milwaukee, he collected 12 points and three rebounds.
In the New York Knicks’ 112–100 home win over the Utah Jazz, Reggie Bullock collected 12 and seven rebounds for a season-high 11.9 game score. For the third consecutive game and fourth time in the last five games, Theo Pinson didn’t play.
Cameron Johnson and the Phoenix Suns continue to play well. In the Suns’ 123–115 home win over Toronto, Johnson scored 16 points. The 6–2 Suns are tied with the Lakers for the best record in the Western Conference.
In Oklahoma City’s 111–110 win at New Orleans, Justin Jackson didn’t play for the fourth time in seven games.
How Tar Heels did Wednesday and when they play next
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
105–94 win vs. Cleveland — 32 minutes, 8 points, 4–12 FG, 0–4 3FG, 0–0 FT, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers, +11, 1.8 game score
Season statistics — 8 games, 8.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 30.3FG%, 19.0%3P, 95.0FT
Up next — Friday at Houston, 8 p.m.; Saturday at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings guard
128–124 win vs. Chicago — Started; 37 minutes, 20 points, 7–10 FG, 3–4 3FG, 3–5 FT, 5 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, +6, 16.1 game score
Season statistics — 8 games, 17.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 49.0FG%, 36.7%3P, 77.1FT%
Up next — Friday vs. Toronto, 10 p.m.; Saturday vs. Portland, 10 p.m.
Tony Bradley, Philadelphia Sixers center/forward
141–136 win vs. Washington — Didn’t play
Season statistics — 1 game, 4.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 28.6 FG%, no 3-point or FT attempts
Up next — Thursday at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m., TNT; Saturday vs. Denver, 3 p.m., NBATV
Reggie Bullock, New York Knicks guard/forward
112–100 win vs. Utah — Started; 30 minutes, 12 points, 5–8 FG, 2–3 3FG, 0–0 FT, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, +13, 11.9 game score
Season statistics — 8 games, 9.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 38.6FG%, 33.3%3P, 57.1FT%
Up next — Friday vs. Oklahoma City, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday vs. Denver, 6 p.m.
Ed Davis, Minnesota Timberwolves center/forward
Season statistics — 6 games, 2.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 29.4FG%, 0–0 3FG, 75.0FT%
Up next — Thursday at Portland, 10 p.m.; Saturday vs. San Antonio, 8 p.m.
Wayne Ellington, Detroit Pistons guard
130–115 loss at Milwaukee — Started; 24 minutes, 12 points, 5–9 FG, 2–6 3FG, 0–0 FT, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, -17, 9.9 game score
Season statistics — 3 games, 12.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.7 of an assist, 53.8FG%, 41.2 3P%, 1–1 FT
Up next — Friday vs. Phoenix, 7 p.m.; Sunday vs. Utah, 3 p.m., NBATV
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers guard
141–136 win vs. Washington — Started; 30 minutes, 15 points, 5–10 FG, 5–8 3FG, 0–0 3FG, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, +14, 14.6 game score
Season statistics — 8 games, 7.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 42.3FG%, 36.6 3P%, 80.0 FT%Up next — Thursday at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m., TNT; Saturday vs. Denver, 3 p.m., NBATV
Justin Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder forward
111–110 win at New Orleans — Didn’t play
Season statistics — 2 games, 7.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 38.5FG%, 0–8 3FG, 4–4 FT
Up next — Friday at New York, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at Brooklyn, 6 p.m.
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns forward
123–115 win vs. Toronto — 23 minutes, 16 points, 6–10 FG, 4–7 3FG, 0–0 FT, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover, +9, 11.9 game score
Season statistics — 8 games, 13.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 50.7FG%, 42.0%3P, 10–10 FT
Up next — Friday at Detroit, 8 p.m.; Saturday at Indiana, 7 p.m.
Nassir Little, Portland Blazers forward/guard
Season statistics — Hasn’t made season debut as he is working his way back after battling COVID-19
Up next — Thursday vs. Minnesota, 10 p.m.; Saturday at Sacramento, 10 p.m.
Theo Pinson, New York Knicks guard/forward
112–100 win vs. Utah — Didn’t play
Season statistics — 4 games, 0 points, 0.3 of an assist, 0–3 FG, 0–1 3FG, 1 rebound
Up next — Friday vs. Oklahoma City, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday vs. Denver, 6 p.m.
Coby White, Chicago Bulls point guard
128–124 loss at Sacramento — Started; 40 minutes, 36 points, 15–23 FG, 4–9 3FG, 2–2 FT, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 block, 0 turnovers, -5, 31.3 game score
Season statistics — 9 games, 18.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 42.4FG%, 37.3%3P, 85.7 FT
Up next —Friday at Los Angeles Lakers, 10 p.m.; Sunday at Los Angeles Clippers, 4 p.m.
What is a game score? Here is an exclamation.