By R.L. Bynum
It didn’t matter that his Orlando Magic was down by 20 points in the third quarter and playing the second game in as many nights. It didn’t matter that the Magic was down by two points in the final seconds.
Cole Anthony wasn’t going to let the team lose.
“I was bred for this,” he said. “I live for these moments. I wanted an iso. I just knew if I got someone on an island, they weren’t gonna be safe.”
The rookie scored 15 of his season-high 26 points in the fourth quarter and hit a contested, off-balance 27-foot 3-pointer with a tenth-of-a-second left to give Orlando a 112–111 home victory over Memphis on Saturday night to end a nine-game home losing streak.
“Crunch time, I said this a couple of games ago, I want that ball and I want to go and get it for my team,” said Anthony, who hit a buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer to beat Minnesota 97–96 on Jan. 20. “If it means making the right play and getting the ball to someone else so they can get a bucket or me making a big shot, I just want to get that dub for the team.”
Grizzlies guard Kyle Anderson had an arm up and was right on Anthony, but the high-arching shot went in.
How did he feel when the shot left his hand?
“Extremely confident. Uber confident. Very, very confident,” Anthony said.
In that Minnesota game, there were no fans. With limited capacity in Orlando on Saturday, that made his latest huge shot more satisfying.
“To be blessed to hit two game-winners in one season as a rookie, I mean, that definitely doesn’t happen that much,” said Anthony, who had eight rebounds, six assists and three steals. “I wish the crowd was full. I wish we could have had full capacity.”
He still had five turnovers, which Anthony suggested he’d hear about from his dad later, but he made four of six shots in the final period and all five free-throws attempts. For the game, Anthony made 10 of 11 free-throw attempts, which bettered his previous high of six free throws. He only made more free throws than that twice during his season at UNC with 11 against Gardner-Webb and 14 against Boston College.
Anthony hasn’t missed more than one free-throw attempt in a game since Feb. 5.
“I think it shows a little more what I believe I can do for this franchise and just how I see us becoming a much better team next year,” Anthony said. “It hasn’t been the best season for us but that’ll mean that we can be one of those teams next year. So, hopefully, we’ll turn a few heads in these few games.”
Anthony’s 21.7 game score was a season-high, bettering the 16.3 he put up against Chicago in a 17-point game on Feb. 5. The 26 points beat his previous scoring high of 21 against Charlotte on Jan. 25.
“He likes big moments and I think that kid’s going to do a lot of that in his career,” Magic acting head coach Tyrone Corbin said.
In the 14 games since returning from his rib injury, Anthony has scored in double figures in all but one game.
Tony Bradley collected 13 points and eight rebounds as his Oklahoma City Thunder made infamous NBA history in a 152–95 home loss to Indiana, the largest home defeat in league history. He passed the 500 career rebounding mark and now stands at 503.
In Chicago’s second game in as many days, Coby White had a rough night after playing well in a 21-point game the night before. On Saturday in a 108–97 loss at Atlanta, White was 5 of 16 from the floor, 1 of 6 from 3-point range with three assists and four turnovers for 12 points and a 0.7 game score.
How Tar Heels did Saturday, what’s next
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
112–111 win vs. Memphis — 36 minutes, 26 points, 6–15 FG, 4–6 3FG, 10–11 FT, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 5 turnovers, +2, 21.7 game score
Season statistics — 39 games, 12.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 39.7FG%, 33.1%3P, 82.3FT
Up next — Monday at Detroit, 7 p.m.; Wednesday vs. Boston, 7 p.m.
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings guard
Season statistics — 58 games, 16.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 49.7FG%, 39.1%3P, 83.0FT%
Up next — Sunday at Dallas, 8 p.m.; Tuesday at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.
Tony Bradley, Oklahoma City Thunder center/forward
152–95 loss vs. Indiana — 24 minutes, 13 points, 5–8 FG, 3–6 FT, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 2 turnovers, -22, 12.9 game score
Season statistics — 37 games, 7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 0.9 of an assist, 65.7 FG%, 0–2 3FG, 66.7FT%
Up next — Sunday vs. Phoenix, 8 p.m.; Tuesday vs. Sacramento, 8 p.m.
Reggie Bullock, New York Knicks guard/forward
Season statistics — 56 games, 10.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 44.3FG%, 41.2%3P, 88.1FT%
Up next — Sunday at Houston, 8 p.m.; Monday at Memphis, 9 p.m.
Ed Davis, Minnesota Timberwolves center/forward
140–136 OT loss vs. New Orleans — Didn’t play for the seventh consecutive game
Season statistics — 22 games, 2.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 43.2FG%, 0–0 3FG, 83.3FT%
Up next — Wednesday vs. Memphis, 8 p.m.; Friday at Miami, 8 p.m.
Wayne Ellington, Detroit Pistons guard
107–94 loss at Charlotte — Missed game with a bilateral calf strain
Season statistics — 44 games, 9.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 44.5FG%, 42.1 3P%, 80.0FT%
Up next — Monday vs. Orlando, 7 p.m.; Tuesday vs. Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
Season statistics — 61 games, 9.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 41.7FG%, 41.0%3P, 77.1FT%
Up next — Sunday at San Antonio, 8 p.m.; Monday at Chicago, 9 p.m.
Justin Jackson, Milwaukee Bucks forward
Season statistics — 33 games, 7.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 40.6FG%, 30.6%3P, 85.7FT%
Up next — Sunday vs. Brooklyn, 3:30 p.m., TNT; Tuesday vs. Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m., TNT
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
Season statistics — 57 games, 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 42.9FG%, 36.0%3P, 86.7FT%
Up next — Sunday at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.; Tuesday at Cleveland, 7 p.m.
Nassir Little, Portland Blazers forward/guard
Season statistics — 43 games, 4.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.5 of an assist, 44.5%FG, 34.6%3P, 79.5FT%
Up next — Sunday at Boston, 7:30 p.m., NBATV; Monday at Atlanta, 8 p.m.
Theo Pinson, New York Knicks guard/forward
Season statistics — 15 games, 2 points, 1–9 FG, 0–8 3FG, 3 rebounds, 1 assist
Up next — Sunday at Houston, 8 p.m.; Monday at Memphis, 9 p.m.
Coby White, Chicago Bulls point guard
108–97 loss at Atlanta — Started; 34 minutes, 12 points, 5–16 FG, 1–6 3FG, 1–2 FT, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, -5, 0.7 game score
Season statistics — 61 games, 14.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 41.3FG%, 34.5%3P, 91.0 FT%
Up next — Monday vs. Philadelphia, 8 p.m.; Thursday at Charlotte, 7 p.m., BSSE
What is a game score? Here is an exclamation.