Tar Heels in NBA: Johnson hits team-high 17 in Suns loss; Jackson scores 29 in G League

By R.L. Bynum

Playing again without Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker, the Phoenix Suns needed a spark off the bench.

Cameron Johnson provided that with a team-high 17 points off the bench in a season-high 34 minutes. But it wasn’t enough against the host Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers, who lost the Western Conference finals in six games to Phoenix last season, led most of the way in a 111–95 victory.

It was only the second loss since Oct. 27 for Phoenix (21–5). Ayton is dealing with a non-COVID-19-related illness and missed his second consecutive game. Booker is battling a hamstring issue and the Suns also were without Abdel Nader and Frank Kaminsky, both out with knee injuries.

Johnson was 5 of 11 from the floor and 3 of 7 from 3-point range with six rebounds and a career-high-tying three steals. His 15.0 game score was his third of at least 15 this season after doing that only twice last season.


It was another big night for Justin Jackson in the G League. He scored 29 points in 36 minutes to lead the Texas Legends to a 129–122 road victory over Rio Grande (the Rockets’ affiliate).

Jackson was 11 of 18 from the floor and 3 of 6 from 3-point range with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. He is fifth in the league in scoring at 23.7 per game and in 3-pointers with 34.


Coby White’s return to action for Chicago will happen Sunday at the earliest after the Bulls’ scheduled games Tuesday at home against Detroit and Thursday in Toronto were postponed because of a COVID-19 breakout on the team.

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White was allowed to return to the team facility Sunday for the first time since he tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 1. He’s still in the league’s health-and-safety protocols along with Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Troy Brown Jr., Javonte Green, Matt Thomas, Derrick Jones Jr., Ayo Dosunmu and Stanley Johnson.


Reggie Bullock scored nine points in Dallas’ 120–96 home win over Charlotte, the 15th time in the last 16 games that he has failed to score in double figures. He went 3 of 5 from the floor, 2 of 4 from 3-point range and contributed four rebounds, two assists and a steal.

With four defensive rebounds, Bullock eclipsed 800 for his career to give him 802.


Harrison Barnes scored a season-low three points in Sacramento’s 124–101 road loss at Toronto. In 21 minutes, he was 1 of 9 from the floor, 1 of 5 from 3-point range with four rebounds and two assists. He had a negative number for a game score for the first time since Aug. 13, 2020.


Danny Green’s recent struggles continued, this time coming off the bench for only the fourth time in his 21 games, and for the second consecutive game, as Philadelphia lost 126–91 at Memphis. He put up his third negative game score number of the season.

Green went scoreless for the fourth time this season and second time in three games, missing his only two shots, both 3-point attempts, with three rebounds and a block.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
Off Monday
Season statistics — 22 games, 20.5 points, 42.5 FG%, 3767 3FG%, 87.4 FT%, 6.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists
Up next —7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Atlanta; 7 p.m. Friday vs. Miami
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Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward
124–101 Monday at Toronto —
Started; 21 minutes, 3 points, 1–9 FG, 1–5 3FG, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, -9, -1.3 game score
Season statistics —
23 games, 17.4 points, 45.4 FG%, 38.5 3FG%, 83.8 FT%, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists
Up next — 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Washington; 10 p.m. Friday vs. Memphis
———————————————
Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center
Off Monday
Season statistics — 21 games, 3.5 points, 55.7 FG%, 4.5 rebounds, 0.5 of an assist
Up next — 3:30 Sunday vs. Los Angeles Lakers; 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20, vs. Houston
———————————————
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
120–96 Monday win vs. Charlotte —
Started; 33 minutes, 9 points, 3–5 FG, 2–4 3FG, 1–1 FT, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, +13, 9.5 game score
Season statistics —
26 games, 5.8 points, 36.4 FG%, 28.3 3P%, 72.7 FT%, 2.7 rebounds, 0.8 of an assist
Up next —
7:30 Wednesday vs. Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN; 8 p.m. Sunday at Minnesota
———————————————
Ed Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers center
105–94 Monday win vs. Miami —
Didn’t play (coach’s decision); hasn’t played in last 6 games
Season statistics —
9 games, 1.7 points, 70.0 FG%, 50.0 FT%, 3.2 rebounds, 0.1 of an assist
Up next — 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Houston; 9 p.m. Saturday at Milwaukee
———————————————
Wayne Ellington, Los Angeles Lakers guard
Off Monday
Season statistics —
20 games, 6.5 points, 40.2 FG%, 40.4 3FG%, 4–5 FT, 1.5 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist
Up next — 7:30 Wednesday at Dallas, ESPN; 10 p.m. Friday at Minnesota, ESPN
———————————————
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
126–91 Monday loss at Memphis —
Came off bench; 16 minutes, 0 points, 0–2 FG, 0–2 3FG, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 1 turnover, -15, -0.8 game score
Season statistics — 21 games, 6.9 points, 42.5 FG%, 39.0 3FG%, 4–4 FT, 2.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Up next — 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Miami; 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Brooklyn, NBATV
———————————————
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
111–95 Monday loss at Los Angeles Clippers —
34 minutes, 17 points, 5–11 FG, 3–7 3FG, 4–4 FT, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 1 turnover, -6, 15.0 game score
Season statistics —
25 games, 9.8 points, 42.5 FG%, 40.8 3FG%, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Up next — 10 p.m. Tuesday at Portland, TNT; 9 p.m. Thursday vs. Washington
———————————————
Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers wing
Off Monday
Season statistics 23 games, 8.8 points, 49.0 FG%, 32.4 3P%, 75.6 FT%, 5.2 rebounds, 0.7 of an assist
Up next — 10 p.m. Tuesday vs. Phoenix, TNT; 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Memphis
———————————————
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center
Off Monday
Season NBA statistics 8 games, 2.6 points, 52.9 FG%, 33.3% 3P%, 2–5 FT, 2.1 rebounds
Season G League statistics 4 games, 18.0 points, 47.8 FG%, 33.33P%, 85.7 FT%, 9.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 2.6 blocks
Up next — Brooklyn plays at 7:30 Thursday vs. Philadelphia, NBATV; Long Island plays at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at Maine Celtics
———————————————
Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard
Off Monday
Season statistics — 9 games, 6.1 points, 34.9 FG%, 22.6 3P%, 2.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Up next — 3:30 Sunday vs. Los Angeles Lakers; 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20, vs. Houston
———————————————
In G League
Justin Jackson, Texas Legends (Mavericks affiliate) forward
129–122 Monday win at Rio Grande (Rockets affiliate) —
Started; 36 minutes, 29 points, 11–18 FG, 3–6 3FG, 4–4 FT, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, -1
Season statistics 9 games, 23.7 points, 49.0% FG, 42.5% 3FG, 86.4 FT%, 7.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.0 of a steal
Up next — 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Rio Grande (Rockets affiliate); 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28 at Austin Spurs
———————————————
Theo Pinson, Maine Celtics guard
Off Monday
Season statistics —
10 games, 17.3 points, 45.8 FG%, 42.6 3FG%, 88.0 FT%, 4.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.2 steals
Up next — 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday vs. Long Island Nets
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