Tar Heels in NBA: Pinson has career-high four steals, good all-around game in Mavs debut; Johnson scores 14

By R.L. Bynum

Theo Pinson hasn’t been given much of a chance to show what he can do in the NBA since he left the Brooklyn Nets after the 2019–20 season, but he’s taking advantage of a chance with the Dallas Mavericks.

After playing only 34 minutes all of last season for the New York Knicks (scoring two points), he made the most of his 21 minutes Tuesday night in his first game since he signed a 10-day contract with Dallas.

In the Mavericks’ 114–102 home victory over Minnesota, Pinson connected on a 26-foot 3-pointer late in the first quarter, then showed the all-around game that Tar Heels fans know well.

He collected seven points, four rebounds, three assists, a block and a career-high four steals. Pinson’s previous-best NBA steals game was three on Jan. 18, 2020, against Milwaukee for the Nets.

Pinson got four steals in a game for Carolina once: on Jan. 8, 2017, when he also had five assists in a 107–56 home win over N.C. State.

His 9.5 game score was the second-highest of his career, bettered only by a 15.7 for Brooklyn on Jan. 25, 2019, when he collected 19 points, eight rebounds and two assists against the New York Knicks.

In typical Pinson fashion, he came up and interrupted Dorian Finney-Smith as he was about to do a postgame interview on the Mavericks television broadcast. Finney-Smith scored 19 points.

In 13 G League games this season for the Maine Celtics, Pinson averaged 15.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.2 steals.

Reggie Bullock, in the NBA’s health-and-safety protocols along with teammate Josh Green, missed the game. Dallas was already without Luka Doncic (ankle soreness), Willie Cauley-Stein (personal reasons) and Eugene Omoruyi (right foot injury) before Kristaps Porzingis left the game in the third quarter with right foot soreness.


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Cameron Johnson extended his career-high streak of double-figure scoring games to 10 with 14 points in Phoenix’s 108–90 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. He had his fifth game this season with season-high-tying four 3-pointers and tied his season-high with eight rebounds (also Dec. 14 at Portland).

The eight rebounds put him over 500 for his career at 503. Johnson’s 13.0 game score gave him seven double-digit game scores in 30 games after putting up 14 in 60 games last season.

Suns coach Monty Williams continues to urge Johnson not to pass up shots. Does he need that reminder?

“In a sense,” Johnson said. “Sometimes you catch yourself out there feeling like ‘I want to do something else, like get to the basket to create a little bit.’ And, so, it’s always good to have that coach telling you to do what you do and don’t pass them up. It’s really appreciated. And you can see the difference it makes in a player, just even hearing that after missing a couple of in a row. For the coaches to have that confidence in you kind of contributes to your confidence.”

In his fourth consecutive start for the Lakers, Wayne Ellington had three points, two rebounds and a steal in 28 minutes. He hasn’t scored in double figures in 12 games, last doing it with 14 points on Nov. 24 at Indiana. He also had his last double-digit game score in that Pacers game.

The Lakers got 34 points from LeBron James but fell to 16–16. The Suns have won four in a row and have the best record in the league by a half-game over Golden State at 25–5.


Nassir Little missed Portland’s 111–97 loss at New Orleans with an illness that isn’t COVID-19-related.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
Off Tuesday
Season statistics — 23 games, 19.9 points, 41.7 FG%, 36.6 3FG%, 87.6 FT%, 6.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists
Up next — 7:30 Wednesday at Atlanta, NBATV; 7 p.m. Thursday vs. New Orleans
———————————————
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward
Off Tuesday
Season statistics — 27 games, 17.5 points, 45.1 FG%, 39.2 3FG%, 84.4 FT%, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Up next — 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Los Angeles Clippers, NBATV; 6 p.m. Sunday vs. Memphis
———————————————
Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center
Off Tuesday; Wednesday game vs. Toronto postponed
Season statistics — 23 games, 3.7 points, 57.4 FG%, 4.4 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist
Up next — 8 p.m. Sunday vs. Indiana; 7:30 Monday at Atlanta, NBATV
———————————————
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
114–102 win vs. Minnesota —
In NBA’s health-and-safety protocols
Season statistics —
27 games, 5.8 points, 36.4 FG%, 28.3 3P%, 72.7 FT%, 2.7 rebounds, 0.8 of an assist
Up next —
8:30 Thursday vs. Milwaukee, NBATV; 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Utah, ESPN
———————————————
Ed Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers center
Off Tuesday
Season statistics —
11 games, 1.7 points, 75.0 FG%, 25.0 FT%, 3.4 rebounds, 0.1 of an assist
Up next — 7:30 Wednesday at Boston; 6 p.m. Sunday vs. Toronto
———————————————
Wayne Ellington, Los Angeles Lakers guard
108–90 loss vs. Phoenix —
Started; 28 minutes, 3 points, 1–4 FG, 1–4 3FG, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, -17, 2.2 game score
Season statistics —
24 games, 6.5 points, 38.5 FG%, 38.1 3FG%, 4–5 FT, 1.7 rebounds, 0.8 of an assist
Up next — 10:30 Thursday vs. San Antonio; 8 p.m. Saturday vs. Brooklyn, ABC (WTVD in Triangle), ESPN
———————————————
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
Off Tuesday
Season statistics — 24 games, 7.1 points, 40.6 FG%, 37.4 3FG%, 8–8 FT, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Up next — 7 p.m. Thursday vs. Atlanta; 6 p.m. Sunday at Washington
———————————————
Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward
Off Tuesday
G League season statistics for Texas Legends (Mavericks affiliate) —
10 games, 22.7 points, 47.3% FG, 41.4% 3FG, 79.2 FT%, 7.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.0 steals
Up next — 7:30 Wednesday vs. Cleveland; 2:30 Saturday at Milwaukee, ABC (WTVD in Triangle)
———————————————
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
108–90 win at Los Angeles Lakers —
26 minutes, 14 points, 5–11 FG, 4–8 3FG, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, +8, 13.0 game score
Season statistics —
30 games, 10.4 points, 42.5 FG%, 41.4 3FG%, 3.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Up next — 9 p.m. Thursday vs. Oklahoma City; 5 p.m. Saturday vs. Golden State, ABC (WTVD in Triangle)
———————————————
Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers wing
111–97
loss at New Orleans — Missed game with a non-COVID-19-related illness; game Thursday with Brooklyn postponed
Season statistics —
27 games, 8.5 points, 47.7 FG%, 30.0 3P%, 75.9 FT%, 5.4 rebounds, 1.1 assist
Up next — 10 p.m. Monday vs. Dallas; 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Utah
———————————————
Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard
114–102 win  vs. Minnesota —
(season debut) 22 minutes, 7 points, 2–7 FG, 1–4 3FG, 2–2 FT, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 seals, 1 block, -8, 9.5 game score
G League season statistics with Maine Celtics —
13 games, 15.1 points, 43.4 FG%, 40.6 3FG%, 88.5 FT%, 6.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.2 steals
Up next — 8:30 Thursday vs. Milwaukee, NBATV; 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Utah, ESPN
———————————————
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center
vs. Washington —
Game postponed, as is Thursday’s game at Portland; He’s in the NBA’s health-and-safety protocols
Season NBA statistics — 10 games, 3.1 points, 59.1 FG%, 33.3% 3P%, 4–11 FT, 2.9 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 — 8 p.m. Saturday at Los Angeles Lakers, ABC (WTVD in Triangle), ESPN; 10:30 at Los Angeles Clippers, NBATV
———————————————
Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard
Off Tuesday; Wednesday game vs. Toronto postponed
Season statistics — 11 games, 7.6 points, 36.5 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 2.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists
Up next — 8 p.m. Sunday vs. Indiana; 7:30 Monday at Atlanta, NBATV
———————————————

Photo via @dallasmavs

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