By R.L. Bynum

Harrison Barnes and the Sacramento Kings are back in a groove.

After the Kings lost four consecutive games, with Barnes having his only two single-digit scoring games of the season in the last two, they’ve won three in a row with Barnes scoring more than 20 in all three games.

After scoring 21 points a week earlier against the New York Knicks and Wednesday at Orlando, Barnes scored 26 points with four 3-pointers, seven rebounds and five assists in a 126–124 win Friday over Toronto in Tampa.

In key parts of the game, Barnes was the player the Kings went to offensively to make a play. His 3-pointer with 2:52 left pushed their lead to seven and he made a pair of free throws with 7.6 seconds left to put the Kings up by three.

“I feel comfortable in those moments,” Barnes said. “Obviously, I had two turnovers there in the fourth. So, taking care of the ball, I have to be better from that perspective. But we’re going to be in a lot of those situations this year and I feel comfortable having the trust of my teammates, having the trust of my coaches to go out there and make the right play.”

His overall game has improved since last season when he also got rid of his beard and longer hair.

“You’d be surprised. All that hair and a beard weighs a lot,” Barnes jokingly said. “I think just coming into this season, a big emphasis coming into this season was being in great shape. Being ready to play faster, ready to play a lot of minutes. That’s definitely something I tried to work extremely hard on. Just stepping in on whatever need the team has.”

It was his second-best scoring game of the season, topped only by the 30 points he scored on Indiana on Jan. 11. Friday’s game score of 23.5 was the second-best behind the 27.6 in that Pacers game.

Five other UNC alums played in games Friday and their combined point total was only 15.

Of the other Tar Heels, Cole Anthony was the high scorer with six points and six assists with four turnovers in the Orlando Magic’s 116–90 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Orlando is 2–10 since Anthony took over as the starter.

The Philadelphia 76ers won for the fifth time in six outings. In their 118–93 win at Minnesota, Danny Green scored three points with three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 23 minutes and Tony Bradley was scoreless in four minutes.

Ed Davis got his fifth start of the season for Minnesota, collecting two points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes.

In Oklahoma City’s 147–124 home loss to Brooklyn, Justin Jackson had four points and three rebounds in five minutes.

The New York Knicks’ Reggie Bullock missed his third consecutive game with a sore neck, a 102–81 home win over Cleveland. Theo Pinson didn’t play.

How Tar Heels did Friday, what’s ahead

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
116–90 loss vs. Los Angeles Clippers —
Started; 30 minutes, 6 points, 2–10 FG, 0–5 3FG, 2–2 FT, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 turnovers, -6, 0.1 game score
Season statistics — 20 games, 10.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 35.5FG%, 31.9%3P, 86.0FT
Up next —Sunday vs. Toronto in Tampa, 7 p.m.; Tuesday vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings guard
126–124 win vs. Toronto in Tampa —
Started; 37 minutes, 26 points, 8–13 FG, 4–7 3FG, 6–6 FT, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 turnovers, +6, 23.5 game score
Season statistics — 18 games, 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 50.1FG%, 41.7%3P, 85.4FT%
Up next — Saturday at Miami, 8 p.m.; Monday at New Orleans, 8 p.m.
Tony Bradley, Philadelphia Sixers center/forward
118–93 win at Minnesota —
4 minutes, 0 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, -2, 1.3 game score
Season statistics
— 7 games, 5.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist, 50.0 FG%, 0–0 3FG, 3–5 FT
Up next —
Sunday at Indiana, 7 p.m.; Monday at Cleveland, 8 p.m.
Reggie Bullock, New York Knicks guard/forward
102–81 win vs. Cleveland —
Missed game with a sore neck, the third consecutive game he has missed
Season statistics —
15 games, 8.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 38.5FG%, 34.8%3P, 70.0FT%
Up next — Sunday vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 1 p.m.; Monday at Chicago, 8 p.m.
Ed Davis, Minnesota Timberwolves center/forward
118–93 loss vs. Philadelphia — Started; 23 minutes, 2 points, 1–3 FG, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, -21, 0.8 game score
Season statistics — 15 games, 2.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 40.0G%, 0–0 3FG, 83.3FT%
Up next — Sunday vs. Cleveland, 8 p.m.; Monday at Cleveland, 8 p.m.
Wayne Ellington, Detroit Pistons guard
No game
Season statistics — 14 games, 13.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 54.2FG%, 53.2 3P%, 72.7FTG%
Up next — Saturday at Golden State, 10 p.m.; Monday at Denver, 9 p.m.
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
118–93 win at Minnesota —
Started; 23 minutes, 3 points, 1–2 FG, 1–2 3FG, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers, +17, 5.0 game score
Season statistics — 20 games, 9.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 38.2FG%, 37.3%3P 72.7FT%
Up next —
Sunday at Indiana, 7 p.m.; Monday at Cleveland, 8 p.m.
Justin Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder forward
147
124 loss vs. Brooklyn — 5 minutes, 4 points, 2–2 FG, 0–1 3FG, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, +1, 2.6 game score
Season statistics —
8 games, 4.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 41.2FG%, 16.7%3P, 80.0FT%
Up next —Monday vs. Houston, 8 p.m.; Wednesday at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
No game
Season statistics —
17 games, 11.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 44.7FG%, 36.3%3P, 82.4FT%
Up next — Saturday at Dallas, 9 p.m.;  Monday at Dallas, 8:30 p.m., NBATV
Nassir Little, Portland Blazers forward/guard
No game
Season statistics —
6 games, 1.7 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1 assist, 30.0%FG, 1–4 3FG, 3–4 FT
Up next — Saturday at Chicago, 8 p.m.; Monday at Milwaukee, 8 p.m.
Theo Pinson, New York Knicks guard/forward
102–81 win vs. Cleveland —
Didn’t play
Season statistics — 7 games, 2 points, 1–6 FG, 0–5 3FG, 1 rebound
Up next — Sunday vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 1 p.m.; Monday at Chicago, 8 p.m.
Coby White, Chicago Bulls point guard
No game
Season statistics —
17 games, 15.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 40.0FG%, 35.8%3P, 84.2 FT
Up next — Saturday vs. Portland, 8 p.m.; Monday vs. New York, 8 p.m.

What is a game score? Here is an exclamation.

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