Tar Heels in NBA: Little gives Blazers energy off bench in blowout win over Johnson’s Suns

By R.L. Bynum

It didn’t compare to Nassir Little’s 30-point game last season but he brought plenty of energy Saturday night in the Portland Trail Blazers 134–105 home victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Little had his share of highlight plays in collecting 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal for a 10.5 game score.

“It was up there,” Little said when asked if it was one of his best games. “Don’t want to get too high or too low. Obviously, it’s something I can do consistently. I think I played well tonight.”

Little has come off the bench in both games for Portland (1–1) and has a 3-pointer in both games.

“My role is to come out there, be a spark off the bench, bring energy, compete and play hard. I think we did that,” said Little, who scored 30 points last season on Feb. 1 at Milwaukee. “I think we played hard game one. I think we just kind of did it a little bit even more, not just played hard but did it smartly as well. I think we kind of got that combination.”

Little hit a follow-up buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter.

“It was really fun, man,” Little said. “When I go out there, I just run the court, whoever gets the rebound, I just take off. I think it forces guys to honor that. And it allows guys to get open shots when the defense has to honor somebody being wide open. And we just took advantage of it and I think we just came out there and applied all the pressure.”

Cameron Johnson had five points on 2 of 4 shooting in the game for Phoenix.


In the Dallas Mavericks’ 103–95 win at Toronto, Reggie Bullock missed all three of his shots from the floor and finished with one point and three rebounds.

Bullock has played 15 minutes and 17 minutes in the Mavericks’ two games this season, which Coach Jason Kidd was asked about after Saturday’s game.

“This is an early journey and you have to be patient,” Kidd said. “A famous player said this isn’t instant oatmeal. This is going to take time to cook. And so, I have to apologize that you felt that he should have played more.”

Wayne Ellington, who missed the Los Angeles Lakers’ first two games with a sore hamstring, has been ruled out of Sunday night’s home game against Memphis.

“He’s still day-to-day,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Saturday. “I’m still not sure exactly what he did on the court. Our group only walked through stuff so I’m not sure if he did pre-practice work or not but he’ll be out [Sunday] again. Hopefully, sometime next week he’ll return.”

The Chicago Bulls’ Tony Bradley and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Ed Davis each didn’t play Saturday and have yet to make their season debuts.

Justin Jackson’s assignment to the Mavericks’ G-League team, the Texas Legends, became official on Saturday.

How Tar Heels did Saturday

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
Off Saturday
Season statistics — 2 games, 10.0 points, 21.4 FG%, 21.4 3FG%, 83.3 FT%, 3.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists
Up next — 7 p.m. Sunday at New York; 7:30 Monday vs. Miami
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward
Off Saturday
Season statistics — 2 games, 30.5 points, 48.7 FG%, 58.8 3FG%, 86.7 FT%, 12.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists
Up next — 9 p.m. Sunday vs. Golden State; 10 p.m. Wednesday at Phoenix
Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center
97–82 win vs. Detroit —
Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 1 game, 2 points, 1–1 FG, 1 rebound, 1 block
Up next — 7:30 Monday at Toronto; 8 p.m. Thursday vs. New York
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
103–95 win at Toronto —
17 minutes, 1 point, 0–3 FG, 0–2 3FG, 1–2 FT, 3 rebounds, -1, -1.0 game score
Season statistics — 2 games, 2.0 points, 14.3 FG%, 20.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%, 2.0 rebounds
Up next —
8:30 Tuesday vs. Houston; 8:30 Thursday vs. San Antonio
Ed Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers center
101–95 win vs. Atlanta —
Did not play (coach’s decision); hasn’t made Cavaliers debut yet
Up next — 9 p.m. Monday at Denver; 10:30 Wednesday at Los Angeles Clippers
Wayne Ellington, Los Angeles Lakers guard
Off Saturday; ruled out of Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury
Up next — 9:30 Sunday vs. Memphis; 8:30 Tuesday at San Antonio
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
Off Saturday
Season statistics — 2 games, 3.0 points, 28.6 FG%, 28.6 3FG%, 0.5 of a rebound
Up next — 7 p.m. Sunday at Oklahoma City; 7:30 Tuesday at New York, TNT
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
134–105 loss at Portland —
15 minutes, 5 points, 2–4 FG, 1–3 3FG, 1 rebound, 1 assist, -15, 3.6 game score
Season statistics — 3 games, 8.0 points, 40.9 FG%, 46.2 3FG%, 1.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists
Up next — 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Sacramento; 10 p.m. Saturday vs. Cleveland
Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers forward/guard
134–105 win vs. vs. Phoenix —
27 minutes, 11 points, 5–10 FG, 1–4 3FG, 0–2 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, +8, 10.5 game score Season statistics — 2 games, 9.0 points, 53.3 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist
Up next — 10:30 Monday at L.A. Clippers, NBATV; 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Memphis, ESPN
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center
Off Saturday
Up next —
4 p.m. Sunday vs. Charlotte, BSSE; 7:30 Monday vs. Washington, NBATV
Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard (recovering from left shoulder surgery; unlikely to play until late November)
In G-League
Justin Jackson, Texas Legends forward (Dallas Mavericks’ team)
Theo Pinson, Maine Celtics guard (Boston Celtics’ team)

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