By R.L. Bynum
In Madison Square Garden, his hometown arena where his dad began his NBA career for the New York Knicks, Orlando guard Cole Anthony shook off the struggles of his first two games and nearly put up a triple-double Sunday.
After scoring a total of 20 points in the first two Magic games, both blowout losses, Anthony bettered that with 21 of his 29 points by halftime. He notched a career-high five 3-pointers and a career-high 16 rebounds in a 110–104 victory over the New York Knicks for a career-high 29.8 game score.
He was two assists away from a triple-double.
“I had a bunch of family and friends at this game,” said Anthony, who scored 15 first-quarter points. “I just kept looking around the arena and seeing more people. What up? What up? I’m blessed I have a bunch of awesome friends and family who were able to come out here and support me. So, I’m happy I was able to give them a nice performance.”
It was all a terrific birthday present for his mom Crystal McCrary McGuire, who, along with his brother, was cheering him on from courtside. Anthony gave his mom an extended hug after the game.
Greg Anthony, his dad, played the first four of his 12 NBA seasons for the Knicks.
Cole Anthony’s previous bests were four 3-pointers twice, the last time against the Memphis Grizzlies on May 1, and nine rebounds on April 4 against the Indiana Pacers. Anthony’s career scoring high is 37 points on May 16 at Philadelphia in the final game of his rookie season, when he put up his best previous game score of 21.9.
It marked the first NBA victory for Jamahl Mosley, Orlando’s first-year head coach.
“Cole coming back home and playing with that toughness, that confidence, that resilience. The one thing that stands out the most is his ability to rebound the basketball,” said Mosley. “He made the right plays. He made the simple plays. That’s the one thing that he’s getting better and better at, which is making the simple play.”
At Carolina, he had four double-figure rebounding games, including 11 against Duke on Feb. 8, 2020, when he scored 24 points in a loss, and in his college debut on Nov. 6, 2019, against Notre Dame, when he scored a career-high 34 points.
“Rebounding is all about effort,” said the 6–3 Anthony. “It’s about who wants it. If you want a rebound, go get it. Whether I’m 7-foot or 6–3, whoever wants that board more is going to go get it and I happened to want it more tonight and hopefully going forward I’m going to keep wanting it more.”
It’s a quick turnaround for Anthony and the Magic, who play at home Monday night against the Miami Heat.
Although it was in a 119–107 home loss to the talented Golden State Warriors, Harrison Barnes continued his terrific start with 24 points, seven rebounds and a 17.1 game score for the 1–3 Sacramento Kings.
Barnes, who made half of his 10 3-point attempts, scored 11 points in the third quarter as the Warriors took a 90–88 lead into the final quarter, but Golden State pulled away in the final four minutes of the game.
Barnes is ninth in the NBA in scoring average at 28.3 points per game.
Another Tar Heel who, like Anthony, rebounded Sunday after two bad games to start the season, was Philadelphia’s Danny Green. After he scored six points total in those first two outings, he collected 11 points on 3 of 5 shooting from 3-point range and had eight rebounds and one block in the 76ers’ 115–103 win at Oklahoma City.
Day’Ron Sharpe made a brief NBA debut in New Jersey’s 111–95 home loss to the Charlotte Hornets, missing a 3-point attempt in 1 minute, 29 seconds of action.
How Tar Heels did Sunday
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
110–104 win at New York — Started; 34 minutes, 29 points, 9–15 FG, 5–9 3FG, 6–7 FT, 16 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, +5, 29.8 game score
Season statistics — 3 games, 16.3 points, 35.7 FG%, 34.8 3FG%, 84.6 FT%, 7.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists
Up next — 7:30 Monday vs. Miami; 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Charlotte, BSSE
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward
119–107 loss vs. Golden State — Started; 36 minutes, 24 points, 7–13 FG, 5–10 3FG, 5–8 FT, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, -13, 17.1 game score
Season statistics — 3 games, 28.3 points, 50.0 FG%, 55.6 3FG%, 78.3 FT%, 10.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists
Up next — 10 p.m. Wednesday at Phoenix; 8 p.m. Friday at New Orleans
Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center
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
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
Up next — 9 p.m. Monday at Denver; 10:30 Wednesday at Los Angeles Clippers
Wayne Ellington, Los Angeles Lakers guard
121–118 win vs. Memphis — Missed game with a hamstring injury
Up next — 8:30 Tuesday at San Antonio; 8 p.m. Wednesday at Oklahoma City
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
115–103 win at Oklahoma City — Started; 27 minutes, 11 points, 4–6 FG, 3–5 3FG, 8 rebounds, 1 block, +1, 9.5 game score
Season statistics — 3 games, 5.7 points, 46.2 FG%, 41.7 3FG%, 3.0 rebounds
Up next — 7:30 Tuesday at New York, TNT; 7 p.m. Thursday vs. Detroit, NBATV
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
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
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
111–95 loss vs. Charlotte — (career NBA debut) 1 minute, 0 points, 0–1 FG, 0–1 3FG, -2, -0.7 game score
Up next — 7:30 Monday vs. Washington, NBATV; 7:30 Wednesday vs. Miami
Recovering from injury
Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard (had left shoulder surgery; unlikely to play until late November)
Justin Jackson, Texas Legends forward (Dallas Mavericks’ team)
Theo Pinson, Maine Celtics guard (Boston Celtics’ team)