Tar Heels in NBA: Sharpe has best game of rookie season but travel-weary Nets fall to Little’s Blazers

By R.L. Bynum

In a battle of UNC alums Monday night, Nassir Little’s Portland Trail Blazers got the better of Day’Ron Sharpe’s travel-weary Brooklyn Nets, but Sharpe had the best game of his rookie season.

In the Blazers’ 114–108 home victory, Little had 13 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal in his 14th consecutive start over a career-high 39 minutes. He had three blocks to tie his career-high, which he previously had done twice.

Sharpe played a season-high 24 minutes and put up season-high totals of 14 points, six field goals, three blocks and two assists. He tied his season-high of seven rebounds, which he had collected in two earlier games, and was a team-high +14.

“Just playing my game,” said Sharpe, who made all six of his field-goal attempts. “Play hard, fight for position for rebounds, play good defense. My mindset is to win. That’s the first thing in the mind. As long as I’m out there helping us win, I’m good.”

Sharpe’s game score of 14.4 was more than double his best previous game score of 6.5 in a seven-point, seven-rebound game on Dec. 14 against Toronto.

Brooklyn was playing in Portland after a 121–119 overtime home victory over San Antonio and a six-hour cross-country flight the day before. The Nets will play four games in five days and five games in seven days.

“I was on the plane going crazy,” Sharpe said. “I’ve never done that, fly from the East Coast to the West Coast, playing back-to-back. I was kind of tired there toward the end of the game.”

Sharpe got more playing time partly because LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t make the road trip as he works through right foot soreness.

His Nets teammates have been encouraging him based on what they’ve seen in practice.

“Man, if you rebound like you rebound against us in practice, we have a problem,” Sharpe said his teammates told him. “So, I just try to do my thing and do what I know I can do.”

Brooklyn was without James Harden, who suffered a hyperextended left knee. Because it was a road game, the Nets had former Duke star Kyrie Irving, who scored 22 points.

In the fourth quarter, Little dove for a loose ball and sent Irving sprawling onto the court. Irving rolled his left ankle but says he’ll be able to play Wednesday.

“It was a bad play,” Irving said. “It was unnecessary for him to dive that far away from the ball. … There’s no place in our game for it. I get the intent from Nassir; it’s nothing against him. But it was unnecessary.”

Little’s 13.5 game score was his 11th double-digit game score in 35 games this season after collecting six over 96 games in his first two seasons, including five last season.


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Harrison Barnes collected 14 points, five 3-pointers, three rebounds, two assists and a steal but his Sacramento Kings lost 109–108 at home against Cleveland for their fifth consecutive loss. It was his fourth game this season with at least five 3-pointers and 10th with at least three.

For the sixth consecutive Cavaliers game, Ed Davis didn’t play.


Danny Green contributed five points, four rebounds, a steal and a block in 20 minutes of Philadelphia’s 111–91 win at Houston.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
Off Monday
Season statistics —
27 games, 19.9 points, 40.6 FG%, 34.8 3FG%, 86.0 FT%, 6.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists
Up next — 7 p.m. Wednesday at Washington; 7 p.m. Friday at Charlotte, BSSE
———————————————
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward
109–108 loss vs. Cleveland —
Started; 28 minutes, 14 points, 3–7 FG, 3–5 3FG, 5–8 FT, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, +4, 12.8 game score
Season statistics
— 38 games, 16.1 points, 44.7 FG%, 42.2 3FG%, 82.4 FT%, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists
Up next — 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Los Angeles Lakers; 10 p.m. Friday vs. Houston
———————————————
Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center
Off Monday
Season statistics — 25 games, 3.8 points, 58.7 FG%, 4.4 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist
Up next — 8 p.m. Tuesday vs. Detroit; 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Brooklyn, ESPN
———————————————
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
Off Monday
Season statistics —
33 games, 6.6 points, 37.9 FG%, 31.8 3P%, 76.5 FT%, 2.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Up next —
7:30 Wednesday at New York, ESPN; 10 p.m. Friday at Memphis, ESPN
———————————————
Ed Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers center
109–108 win at Sacramento —
Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics —
12 games, 1.6 points, 75.0 FG%, 16.7 FT%, 3.1 rebounds, 0.1 of an assist
Up next — 9 p.m. Wednesday at Utah; 8:30 Friday at San Antonio
———————————————
Wayne Ellington, Los Angeles Lakers guard
Off Monday
Season statistics —
28 games, 6.7 points, 40.8 FG%, 39.2 3FG%, 45 FT, 1.7 rebounds, 0.8 of an assist
Up next — 10 p.m. Wednesday at Sacramento; 9 p.m. Saturday at Denver, NBATV
———————————————
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
111–91 win at Houston —
Started; 20 minutes, 5 points, 2–5 FG, 1–4 3FG, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, +9, 5.2 game score
Season statistics — 28 games, 6.7 points, 40.8 FG%, 37.8 3FG%, 8–8 FT, 2.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Up next — 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Charlotte; 7 p.m. Friday vs. Boston
———————————————
Justin Jackson, Phoenix Suns forward
Off Monday
NBA season statistics — 4 games, 3.8 points, 62.5% FG, 60% 3FG, 1.5 rebounds
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 Tuesday at Toronto; 7 p.m. Friday at Indiana
———————————————
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
Off Monday
Season statistics — 39 games, 11.9 points, 45.8 FG%, 43.8 3FG%, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Up next — 7:30 Tuesday at Toronto; 7 p.m. Friday at Indiana
———————————————
Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers wing
114–108 win vs. Brooklyn —
39 minutes, 13 points, 3–9 FG, 2–6 3FG, 5–6 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, +12, 13.5 game score
Season statistics —
35 games, 9.1 points, 44.7 FG%, 31.7 3P%, 72.0 FT%, 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Up next — 10 p.m. Thursday at Denver, TNT; 7 p.m. Saturday at Washington
———————————————
Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard
Off Monday
NBA season statistics — 10 games, 2.5 points, 29.6 FG, 25.0 3FG, 4–4 FT, 1.6 rebounds, 1.2 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 — 7:30 Wednesday at New York, ESPN; 10 p.m. Friday at Memphis, ESPN
———————————————
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center
114–108 loss at Portland —
24 minutes, 14 points, 6–6 FG, 2–3 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, +14, 14.4 game score
Season NBA statistics —
14 games, 4.6 points, 62.8 FG%, 33.3% 3P%, 52.9% FT, 3.5 rebounds, 0.1 of an assist
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 — 10 p.m. Wednesday at Chicago, ESPN; 8:30 Thursday vs. Oklahoma City
———————————————
Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard
Off Monday
Season statistics — 19 games, 11.3 points, 45.1 FG%, 38.0 3P%, 2.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Up next — 8 p.m. Tuesday vs. Detroit; 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Brooklyn, ESPN
———————————————

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