Tar Heels in NBA: Ellington has best game of the season; Bullock helps Knicks win back-to-back games; Johnson gets first start of season

By R.L. Bynum

It’s been a strange season for Wayne Ellington in his return to the Detroit Pistons.

After he played in only one of Detroit’s first six games, and only for four minutes in that game, Ellington has started three consecutive games and five of the last seven.

In his latest start, Ellington scored 24 points on seven 3-pointers to produce a 16.8 game score, all season-highs, in the Pistons’ 113–107 loss at Miami to split two games with the Heat. It was his best game score since putting up an 18.2 on April 3, 2019, in a 24-point game for the Pistons against Indiana.

Perhaps playing former teams elevates his play a bit? His best game last season was 17 points for the New York Knicks against Detroit.

Reggie Bullock and the New York Knicks are finally building some momentum.

The Knicks swept games on consecutive days for the first time in 40 chances with a 91–84 home win Monday afternoon over the Orlando Magic. The back-to-back wins came after five consecutive defeats.

Bullock made two free throws with 27.6 seconds left to push the Knicks’ lead to six and scored 13 points to net double-figure points in consecutive games for the first time this season.

It wasn’t such a good day for rookie Orlando point guard Cole Anthony, who was held under double-digit points for the first time in four games with six points, five rebounds and a season-low-tying one assist against one turnover on 2 of 12 shooting. His 0.1 game score was his second-lowest of the season.

The Magic’s losing streak since Markelle Fultz’s season-ending injury made Anthony the starter is now at six games for a team that was 6–2 beforehand.

Cameron Johnson got his first start of the season after he started all eight of the Phoenix Suns’ games in the Lake Buena Vista, Fla., bubble last summer. He took the place of veteran forward Jae Crowder in the lineup for the Suns’ 108–104 loss at Memphis and scored nine of his 10 points in the first half.

In 23 minutes, Johnson tallied four rebounds, two assists, one steal and two turnovers. Crowder played 56 seconds more than Johnson and finished with seven points, two rebounds and four assists.

Coby White rebounded from a scoreless game with 10 points and four assists in the Bulls’ 125–120 home win against Houston.

In the Portland Trail Blazers’ 125–104 home loss to San Antonio, Nassir Little had one point and four rebounds in a season-high nine minutes.

How Tar Heels did Monday and what’s ahead

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
91–84 loss at New York
— Started; 28 minutes, 6 points, 2–12 FG, 2–5 3FG, 0–0 FT, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, -14, 0.1 game score
Season statistics — 14 games, 10.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 32.1FG%, 22.4%3P, 88.2FT
Up next — Wednesday at Minnesota, 8 p.m.; Friday at Indiana, 7 p.m.
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings guard
No game
Season statistics — 14 games, 16.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 49.1FG%, 40.0%3P, 81.5FT%
Up next — Wednesday at Los Angeles Clippers, 10 p.m.; Friday vs. New York, 10 p.m.
Tony Bradley, Philadelphia Sixers center/forward
No game
Season statistics — 5 games, 4.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist, 47.8 FG%, 0–0 3FG, 1–3 FT
Up next —
Wednesday vs. Boston, 7 p.m., ESPN; Friday vs. Boston, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Reggie Bullock, New York Knicks guard/forward
91–84 win vs. Orlando
— Started; 30 minutes, 13 points, 4–11 FG, 2–8 3FG, 3–3 FT, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, +9, 9.2 game score
Season statistics — 13 games, 8.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 38.7FG%, 31.7%3P, 70.0FT%
Up next — Thursday at Golden State, 10 p.m.; Friday at Sacramento, 10 p.m.
Ed Davis, Minnesota Timberwolves center/forward
108–97 loss at Atlanta — 14 minutes, 4 points, 1–3 FG, 0–0 3FG, 2–2 FT, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, +3, 5.9 game score
Season statistics — 9 games, 2.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.7 of an assist, 37.5FG%, 0–0 3FG, 83.3FT%
Up next — Wednesday vs. Orlando, 8 p.m.; Friday vs. Atlanta, 8 p.m.
Wayne Ellington, Detroit Pistons guard
113–107 loss at Miami — Started; 28 minutes, 24 points, 7–12 FG, 7–11 3FG, 3–4 FT, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, +19, 16.8 game score
Season statistics — 7 games, 8.0 points, 1.7 rebounds, 0.4 of an assist, 47.7FG%, 40.6 3P%, 1–1 FT
Up next — Wednesday at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.; Friday vs. Houston, 7 p.m.
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers guard
No game
Season statistics — 14 games, 9.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 37.4FG%, 37.0%3P 72.7FT%
Up next —
Wednesday vs. Boston, 7 p.m., ESPN; Friday vs. Boston, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Justin Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder forward
No game
Season statistics — 4 games, 5.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.8 of an assist, 36.8FG%, 8.3%3P, 83.3FT%
Up next — Tuesday at Denver, 9 p.m.; Friday at Los Angeles Clippers, 10 p.m.
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
108–104 loss at Memphis
— Started; 23 minutes, 10 points, 4–9 FG, 2–4 3FG, 0–0 FT, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, +8, 8.4 game score
Season statistics — 12 games, 12.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 46.8FG%, 38.5%3P, 85.7FT%
Up next — Wednesday at Houston, 9:30 p.m., ESPN; Friday vs Denver, 10 p.m., ESPN
Nassir Little, Portland Blazers forward/guard
125–104 loss vs. San Antonio
— 9 minutes, 1 point, 0–2 FG, 0–1 3FG, 1–2 FT, 4 rebounds, -11, 0.4 game score
Season statistics — 4 games, 1.5 points, 1.8 rebound, 0 assists, 2–5 FG, 1–2 3FG, 1–2 FT
Up next — Wednesday vs. Memphis, 10 p.m.; Friday vs. Memphis, 10 p.m.
Theo Pinson, New York Knicks guard/forward
91–84 win vs. Orlando
— Didn’t play
Season statistics — 6 games, 0 points, 0–5 FG, 0–5 3FG, 1 rebound
Up next — Thursday at Golden State, 10 p.m.; Friday at Sacramento, 10 p.m.
Coby White, Chicago Bulls point guard
125–120 win vs. Houston — Started; 32 minutes, 10 points, 4–12 FG, 2–7 3FG, 0–0 FT, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, +2, 5.0 game score
Season statistics — 14 games, 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 40.3FG%, 35.1%3P, 84.4 FT
Up next — Friday at Charlotte, 7 p.m., FSS; Saturday vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 8 p.m.

What is a game score? Here is an exclamation.

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