By R.L. Bynum
It took Reggie Bullock a couple of games to get going after signing as a free agent in the offseason with the Dallas Mavericks, but he put it all together on both ends Tuesday night.
After scoring a total of four points on 1 of 7 shooting through two games, Bullock scored 16 points and put up a 12.6 game score in the Mavericks’ home opener, a 116–106 victory over the Houston Rockets.
“It was a great confidence-builder to be able to get some shots going in front of fans tonight,” said Bullock, who was 6 of 11 shooting from the floor and 4 of 9 shooting from 3-point range.
Bullock signed with Dallas after leading New York to a playoff berth in his second season with the Knicks.
“This is one of the reasons they brung me here, to shoot the ball,” said Bullock, who scored eight points each in the second and fourth quarters. “It’s all about me finding my groove. Me finding my shots and knowing where those will come from every night.”
Luka Dončić knew what his team was getting in Bullock.
“He’s an amazing player,” said Dončić, who scored 26 points. “Last year, when I played against the Knicks, he was always guarding me. He’s a hell of a defender. We just got to go from here.”
In addition to his reputation as a good shooter, Dončić and the rest of the league also knew about Bullock’s defense, and he showed that off on Tuesday as well. He guarded Eric Gordon much of the night and made him earn his 22 points.
“Being able to lock in on the defensive end and lock in on personnel every night, it’s all about us doing it collectively together,” Bullock said. “Being aggressive with the opponent that you have to guard, it definitely [helps] you get your legs and have the confidence to put shots up. Gordon is a tough offensive player. I was trying to make it tough for him. That just allowed me to continue working, and build my wind, and being able to knock down shots when it comes down to it.”
The surprising part so far this season is that Bullock not only hasn’t been starting but hasn’t been getting that much playing time. After averaging 30 minutes for the Knicks and starting 64 of 65 games last season, the 17 minutes, 27 seconds he played Tuesday was a season-high.
Maybe Bullock’s performance will change the playing-time decisions by Coach Jason Kidd.
“Reggie changed the game for us,” Kidd said. “It’s a beautiful thing — the chemistry, and accountability held tonight.”
After scoring six points total in Philadelphia’s first two games, Danny Green scored in double figures for the second consecutive game. Green collected 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting from 3-point range for a season-high 11.3 game score in the 76ers’ 112–99 loss at New York. That ended a 15-game win streak for the Sixers against the Knicks.
Wayne Ellington, who has been battling a left hamstring strain, was in uniform for the Los Angeles Lakers for their 125–121 overtime win at San Antonio but didn’t play and still hasn’t made his Lakers debut. He is questionable for Wednesday’s game at Oklahoma City.
How Tar Heels did Tuesday
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
Season statistics — 4 games, 15.3 points, 36.4 FG%, 32.1 3FG%, 80.0 FT%, 8.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists
Up next — 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Charlotte, BSSE; 7 p.m. Friday at Toronto
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward
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 — 8 p.m. Thursday vs. New York; 8 p.m. Saturday vs. Utah
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
116–106 win vs. Houston — 17 minutes, 16 points, 6–11 FG, 4–9 3FG, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, -4, 12.6 game score
Season statistics — 3 games, 6.7 points, 38.9 FG%, 35.7 3P%, 50.0 FT%, 2.7 rebounds, 0.3 of an assist
Up next — 8:30 Thursday vs. San Antonio; 10 p.m. Friday at Denver, ESPN
Ed Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers center
Off Tuesday; still hasn’t made Cavaliers debut
Up next — 10:30 Wednesday at Los Angeles Clippers; 10:30 Friday at Los Angeles Lakers
Wayne Ellington, Los Angeles Lakers guard
125–121 OT win at San Antonio — Missed game with a left hamstring strain; still hasn’t made season debut
Up next — 8 p.m. Wednesday at Oklahoma City; 10:30 p.m. Friday vs. Cleveland
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
112–99 loss at New York — Started; 23 minutes, 12 points, 4–8 FG, 4–8 3FG, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, -7, 11.3 game score
Season statistics — 4 games, 7.3 points, 47.6 FG%, 45.0 3FG%, 2.8 rebounds
Up next — 7 p.m. Thursday vs. Detroit, NBATV; 7:30 Saturday vs. Atlanta, 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 — 3 games, 9.3 points, 54.5 FG%, 44.4 3P%, 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist
Up next — Wednesday vs. Memphis, ESPN; 10 p.m. Friday vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center
Season statistics — 2 games, 1.0 point, 50% FG, 0–1 3FG
Up next — 7:30 Wednesday vs. Miami; 7:30 Friday vs. Indiana
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 affiliate); opener Nov. 5 at Lakeland Magic (Orlando Magic affiliate)
Theo Pinson, Maine Celtics guard (Boston Celtics affiliate); opener Nov. 5 at College Park Skyhawks (Atlanta Hawks affiliate)