Tar Heels in NBA: Little battling injuries but has another big game; Sharpe’s minutes cut; Jackson hits 25 in G League

By R.L. Bynum

Nassir Little keeps battling injuries but they don’t seem to be slowing him down.

He was dealing with a right knee contusion coming into Tuesday’s 109–107 home loss to Minnesota and sprained his left shoulder, appearing to be in a lot of pain, with eight minutes left.

Little, who returned briefly in the final minute of the game, finished with 20 points, four 3-pointers, eight rebounds and two assists after scoring 19 points at Portland in his previous game.

Little has started 21 consecutive games and made the case to remain a starter despite the return of veteran Norman Powell. Powell missed eight consecutive games in the NBA’s health-and-safety protocols but came off the bench in his return with eight points in 26 minutes.

Little is a big reason why the Blazers have managed to go 7–5 without star Damian Lillard, who is recovering from Jan. 13 surgery and has been a mentor to the third-year player. This week, Lillard praised Little’s play.

“This isn’t a matter of him riding a wave of me playing well and now he’s saying all this type of stuff,” Little said. “Dame has genuinely believed in me from day one since I got into the league. So, I appreciate that. He’s just been a guy that I can just talk to and bounce my ideas off and tell how I’m feeling, what I’m seeing on the court. He’s just helped me try to see the game in a different way. So, I’m very appreciative of him and his support for me.”

Little’s game score Tuesday was 18.3, his third of at least 18 this season after doing it once in his first two seasons (26.9 in his 30-point game at Milwaukee on Feb. 1, 2021).


Day’Ron Sharpe played 11 minutes, the fewest during his eight consecutive starts, in Brooklyn’s 106–96 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He collected four points, tied for the fewest in those eight games, and eight rebounds.

The return of Nic Claxton, who scored six points in 17 minutes, was a big reason Sharpe didn’t play as much Tuesday. Claxton missed the previous seven games with a tight left hamstring.

Sharpe is now competing for playing time with Claxton, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin, although Griffin didn’t play Tuesday (coach’s decision).

“Just stay ready, man,” Sharpe said. “If I do get cut out or not, I’m still going to be on the sideline, helping, cheering, clapping just being ready when my name gets called.”

For the fourth time in the last five games, Wayne Ellington didn’t play for the Lakers (coach’s decision.)


In the G League, Justin Jackson had 25 points, four 3-pointers, seven rebounds and four assists in the Texas Legends’ 135–118 road victory over the Iowa Wolves.


Harrison Barnes had his worst shooting night of the season in Sacramento’s 128–75 loss at Boston one game after scoring 29 points.

Barnes was 1 of 12 from the floor and missed all six 3-point attempts, finishing with four points, four rebounds and two assists. It was only his third time in 44 games this season to go without a 3-pointer.


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Reggie Bullock missed all four 3-point attempts and finished with six points in Dallas’ 130–92 loss at Golden State. Theo Pinson was scoreless with two rebounds and an assist in eight minutes.


Danny Green missed his seventh consecutive Philadelphia game, a 117–110 win over New Orleans, with right hip pain.


Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
Off Tuesday
Season statistics —
34 games, 18.0 points, 39.4 FG%, 32.9 3FG%, 83.1 FT%, 6.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists
Up next — 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Los Angeles Clippers; 7 p.m. Friday vs. Detroit
———————————————
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward
128–75 loss at Boston —
Started; 30 minutes, 4 points, 1–12 FG, 0–6 3FG, 2–2 FT, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, -34, -0.6 game score
Season statistics
— 44 games, 16.3 points, 44.8 FG%, 40.6 3FG%, 83.0 FT%, 6.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Up next — 7:30 Wednesday at Atlanta; 7:30 Saturday at Philadelphia
———————————————
Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center
Off Tuesday
Season statistics — 33 games, 3.5 points, 56.5 FG%, 76.5 FT%, 4.1 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist
Up next — 8 p.m. Wednesday vs. Toronto; 8:30 Friday at San Antonio
———————————————
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
130–92 loss at Golden State —
24 minutes, 6 points, 2–6 FG, 0–4 3FG, 2–2 FT, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover, -16, 2.1 game score
Season statistics —
40 games, 6.2 points, 38.0 FG%, 30.9 3P%, 76.2 FT%, 3.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Up next —
10 p.m. Wednesday at Portland; 7 p.m. Saturday vs. Indiana
———————————————
Ed Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers center
Off Tuesday
Season statistics —
14 games, 1.5 points, 64.3 FG%, 37.5 FT%, 3.1 rebounds, 0.2 of an assist
Up next — 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Milwaukee; 6 p.m. Sunday at Detroit
———————————————
Wayne Ellington, Los Angeles Lakers guard
106–96 win at Brooklyn —
Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 31 games, 6.3 points, 40.0 FG%, 38.4 3FG%, 4–5 FT, 1.6 rebounds, 0.7 of an assist
Up next — 7:30 Thursday at Philadelphia, TNT; 7:30 Friday at Charlotte, ESPN, BSSE
———————————————
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
117–107 win vs. New Orleans —
Missed seventh consecutive game with right hip pain
Season statistics — 29 games, 6.7 points, 40.7 FG%, 38.1 3FG%, 9–10 FT, 2.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Up next — 7:30 Thursday vs. Los Angeles Lakers, TNT; 7:30 Saturday vs. Sacramento
———————————————
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
Off Tuesday
Season statistics — 43 games, 11.8 points, 45.5 FG%, 43.0 3FG%, 4.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Up next — 10 p.m. Wednesday at Utah, ESPN; 9 p.m. Friday vs. Minnesota
———————————————
Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers wing
109–107 loss vs. Minnesota —
Started; 29 minutes, 20 points, 7–11 FG, 4–6 3FG, 2–3 FT, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, +14, 18.3 game score
Season statistics — 42 games, 9.8 points, 46.0 FG%, 33.1 3P%, 73.4 FT%, 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Up next — 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Dallas; 8 p.m. Friday at Houston
———————————————
Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard
130–92 loss at Golden State —
8 minutes, 0 points, 0–1 FG, 0–1 3FG, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, -9, 1.0 game score
NBA season statistics —
13 games, 1.9 points, 28.6 FG, 23.8 3FG, 4–4 FT, 1.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists
G League season statistics —
13 games, 15.4 points, 40.6 FG%, 39.2 3FG%, 83.3 FT%, 4.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals
Up next — Mavs play at 10 p.m. Wednesday at Portland; Texas Legends play at 8:30 Saturday vs. South Bay Lakers
———————————————
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center
106–96 loss vs. Los Angeles Lakers —
Started; 11 minutes, 4 points, 2–4 FG, 8 rebounds, 1 turnover, +4, 4.2 games score
Season NBA statistics —
22 games, 6.5 points, 58.9 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 65.2% FT, 5.0 rebounds, 0.3 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 — 8 p.m. Wednesday vs. Denver; 8:30 Saturday at Golden State, ABC
———————————————
Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard
Off Tuesday
Season statistics — 29 games, 12.7 points, 43.6 FG%, 35.1 3P%, 2.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists
Up next — 8 p.m. Wednesday vs. Toronto; 8:30 Friday at San Antonio
———————————————
In the G League
Justin Jackson, Texas Legends (Mavericks affiliate) forward
135–118 win at Iowa Wolves —
Started; 25 points, 9–14 FG, 4–7 3FG, 1–2 FT, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, +20
NBA season statistics —
4 games, 3.8 points, 62.5% FG, 60% 3FG, 1.5 rebounds
G League season statistics— 17 games, 23.3 points, 44.4% FG, 41.1% 3FG, 81.0 FT%, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.9 of a steal
Up next — 8:30 Saturday vs. South Bay Lakers; 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2, vs. Stockton Kings
———————————————

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