Tar Heels in NBA: White produces big second half; Little has season-best game with double-double; Johnson has huge fourth quarter in first start

By R.L. Bynum

The Chicago Bulls are depleted but on a roll and Coby White was a big part of their latest victory, his second consecutive start. Portland’s Nassir Little had a double-double in his best game of the season and Cameron Johnson produced a monster fourth quarter in his first start of the season.

White scored all 13 of his points in the second half of the Bulls’ 130–118 Monday road win at Atlanta for their fourth consecutive win and eighth in the last 10 games. Chicago (21–10, second in the Eastern Conference) went 11 games over .500 for the first time since January 2015.

White’s straightaway 3-pointer with 9:10 left in the third quarter gave Chicago its first double-digit lead of the game, and his 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:19 remaining in the game pushed the Bulls’ lead to 14.

White, who also had four rebounds and two steals, reached 2,000 career points on the below dunk with 6:58 left in the third quarter and is at 2,005.

White is starting because point guard Lonzo Ball is in the NBA’s health-and-safety protocols. Alonzo McKinnie and Tony Bradley also are in the protocols, with Alex Caruso (left hamstring strain), Derrick Jones Jr. (left hamstring strain) and Patrick Williams (left wrist injury) out with injuries for Chicago.

In the Bulls’ 113–105 home win Sunday over Indiana, White contributed eight points and two rebounds.


Nassir Little put up his second double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds in Portland’s 132–117 home loss to Dallas on Monday.

Dallas took control of the game after a Little dunk tied it at 41 in the first half, going up 72–53 by halftime.

Little, who missed a Dec. 21 game because of a non-COVID-19-related illness, started for the seventh consecutive game he’s played and put up a season-high 19.9 game score. His only better game score was his career-high 30-point effort at Milwaukee on Feb. 1 of last season for a 26.9.

He was 7 of 14 from the floor with two 3-pointers, two assists, two steals and a career-high-tying three blocks. He pushed his career blocks total to 52.

“Super-talented, humble, great teammate,” Portland’s Damian Lillard, who scored 26 points, said of Little. “He just wants to do the right thing and he wants to win.”

The Blazers had seven players in the league’s protocols, in addition to Coach Chauncey Billups, and the Mavericks had six players on that list, including Luca Doncic and Reggie Bullock.

Bullock cleared the protocols Tuesday and will be available for the Mavericks’ two-game set at Sacramento on Wednesday and Friday.

Theo Pinson, who scored nine points in 22 minutes of Dallas’ 120–116 Saturday win at Utah, didn’t score in six minutes of the win at Portland.

With the Mavericks waiving Eugene Omoruyi, they have a two-way contract available if they want to sign Pinson to that spot. Pinson’s initial 10-day contract runs out Thursday.


Cameron Johnson got his first start of the season and 21st of his career, scoring 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter of Phoenix’s 114–113 home loss Monday against Memphis. That extended his career-high streak of double-figure scoring games to 13.

Johnson collected seven rebounds and two steals in a season-high 36 minutes. He played at least that many minutes three times during his rookie season and once last season. His four 3-pointers, including making 3 of 4 fourth-quarter attempts, pushed his career total to 301.

He started after usual starters Jae Crowder and Deandre Ayton entered the NBA’s health-and-safety protocols, along with Coach Monty Williams.

Johnson scored six consecutive Suns points on a 3-pointer with 3:04 left and three free throws with 2:21 left to trim their deficit to five.

After Devin Booker’s 3-pointer gave the Suns a lead with 5.1 seconds remaining, the Grizzlies’ Ja Morant drove the left side of the lane and banked in a layup with a half-second left to give Memphis the victory.

“You have to make decisions on the fly,” Johnson said. “The main objective was to keep the ball away from him, but we kind of let him get [to his] left.”

It was the Suns’ second consecutive home loss after winning the previous 15 home games. Phoenix (26–7) lost 116–107 to Golden State on Christmas Day.  Johnson scored 11 points and two 3-pointers in that game.

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Harrison Barnes collected 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block in Sacramento’s 127–102 home loss Sunday to Memphis.


On Saturday, Justin Jackson entered the protocols and missed Boston’s 117–113 Christmas Day loss at Milwaukee and Monday’s 108–103 loss at Minnesota. His 10-day contract expires Thursday.


Ed Davis also is in the protocols and missed Cleveland’s 144–99 home win Sunday over Toronto.


Cole Anthony, who missed three games earlier this month with a right ankle sprain, was rested for Orlando’s 93–83 Sunday loss at Miami because of what the team called ankle maintenance, then declared out for Tuesday night’s home game against Milwaukee.


Wayne Ellington had three points and three rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers’ Christmas Day 122–115 home loss to Brooklyn. Ellington is out for Tuesday night’s game at Houston with an illness that’s not COVID-19-related.

(Saturday, Sunday and Monday)
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
93–83
Sunday loss at Miami Missed game because of what team called ankle maintenance and ruled out for Tuesday’s game; He missed three games earlier this month with a right ankle sprain
Season statistics — 24 games, 20.0 points, 41.8 FG%, 35.4 3FG%, 87.5 FT%, 6.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists
Up next — 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Milwaukee; 7 p.m. Thursday vs. Milwaukee
———————————————
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward
127–102 Sunday loss vs. Memphis
Started; 32 minutes, 12 points, 4–10 FG, 3–5 3FG, 1–3 FT, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers, -36, 10.1 game score
Season statistics — 29 games, 17.3 points, 45.0 FG%, 39.9 3FG%, 83.5 FT%, 6.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Up next — 10 p.m. Tuesday vs. Oklahoma City; 10:30 Wednesday vs. Dallas, NBATV
———————————————
Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center
113–105 Sunday win vs. Indiana
and 130–118 Monday win at Atlanta Missed both games; Bradley is in NBA’s health-and-safety protocols
Season statistics — 23 games, 3.7 points, 57.4 FG%, 4.4 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist
Up next — 8 p.m. Wednesday vs. Atlanta; 3 p.m. Friday at Indiana
———————————————
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
120–116 Saturday loss
at Utah and 132–117 Monday win at Portland — Missed fourth and fifth consecutive games; Bullock cleared the NBA’s health-and-safety protocols on Tuesday and will be available for the Mavs’ games this week at Sacramento.
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 —
10:30 Wednesday at Sacramento, NBATV; 6 p.m. Friday at Sacramento
———————————————
Ed Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers center
144–99
Sunday win vs. Toronto — Missed game; Davis is in NBA’s health-and-safety protocols
Season statistics —
11 games, 1.7 points, 75.0 FG%, 25.0 FT%, 3.4 rebounds, 0.1 of an assist
Up next — 8 p.m. Tuesday at New Orleans; 7 p.m. Thursday at Washington
———————————————
Wayne Ellington, Los Angeles Lakers guard
122–115 Saturday loss vs. Brooklyn —
Started; 14 minutes, 3 points, 1–3 3FG, 3 rebounds, -20, 1.5 game score; out for Tuesday’s game with an illness that isn’t COVID-19-related
Season statistics —
26 games, 6.4 points, 37.8 FG%, 36.8 3FG%, 4–5 FT, 1.8 rebounds, 0.8 of an assist
Up next — 8 p.m. Tuesday at Houston; 8 p.m. Wednesday at Memphis, NBATV
———————————————
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
117–96 Sunday win at Washington —
Missed second consecutive game; Green in health-and-safety protocols
Season statistics — 24 games, 7.1 points, 40.6 FG%, 37.4 3FG%, 8–8 FT, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Up next — 7:30 Tuesday at Toronto; 7 p.m. Thursday at Brooklyn, NBATV
———————————————
Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward
117–113 Saturday loss
at Milwaukee and 108–103 Monday loss at Minnesota — Missed both games; Jackson in health-and-safety protocols
NBA season statistics —
1 game, 2 points, 0–1 FG, 2–2 FT
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. Los Angeles Clippers; 1 p.m. Friday vs. Phoenix
———————————————
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
116–107 Saturday loss
vs. Golden State — 20 minutes, 11 points, 3–6 FG, 2–5 3FG, 3–3 FT, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, +4, 10.4 game score
114–113 Monday loss vs. Memphis — Started; 36 minutes, 19 points, 6–13 FG, 4–10 3FG, 3–3 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 turnover, +/- of 0, 15.0 game score  
Season statistics —
33 games, 11.0 points, 44.3 FG%, 42.9 3FG%, 4.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Up next — 9 p.m. Wednesday vs. Oklahoma City; 1 p.m. Friday at Boston
———————————————
Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers wing
132–117
Monday loss vs. Dallas — Started; 34 minutes, 20 points, 7–14 FG, 2–7 3FT, 4–7 FT, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 blocks, -24, 19.9 game score
Season statistics —
28 games, 8.9 points, 47.8 FG%, 29.9 3P%, 73.8 FT%, 5.6 rebounds, 1.1 assist
Up next — 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Utah; 10:30 p.m. Friday at Los Angeles Lakers, NBATV
———————————————
Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard
120–116 Saturday loss at Utah —
22 minutes, 9 points, 3–5 FG, 1–3 3FG, 2–2 FT, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, -9, 7.9 game score
132–117 Monday win at Portland — 6 minutes, 0 points, -1, -0.8 game score
NBA season statistics — 4 games, 6.3 points, 38.1 FG, 33.3 3FG, 4–4 FT, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists
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 — 10:30 Wednesday at Sacramento, NBATV; 6 p.m. Friday at Sacramento
———————————————
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center
122–115 Saturday win
at Los Angeles Lakers and 124–108 Monday loss at Los Angeles Clippers — Missed second and third consecutive games; Sharpe in 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 — 7 p.m. Thursday vs. Philadelphia, NBATV; 7:30 Saturday vs. Los Angeles Clippers
———————————————
Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard
113–105 Sunday win vs. Indiana
Started; 33 minutes, 8 points, 3–10 FG, 0–4 3FG, 2–2 FT, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, +2, 0.6 game score
130–118 Monday win at Atlanta — Started; 25 minutes, 13 points, 5–11 FG, 3–7 3FG, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 turnover, +3, 7.5 game score
Season statistics — 13 games, 8.1 points, 36.8 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Up next — 8 p.m. Wednesday vs. Atlanta; 3 p.m. Friday at Indiana
———————————————

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