Tar Heels in NBA: Johnson ties career-high for 3-pointers; Green returns from injury but Little likely out for season; White hits 18; NBA fines Anthony

By R.L. Bynum

While Cameron Johnson appears to be back to playing at the high level he reached before missing three games with an ankle injury and Danny Green returned after missing seven games, Nassir Little’s breakout season is likely over.

An MRI revealed that Little suffered a left shoulder labral tear late in Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota. Portland didn’t announce a timetable for his return, but a team source told The Oregonian that Little would be out for the season.

“That’s bad, bad news,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said before Friday’s 125–110 win at Houston. “You feel so bad for him. He was making so many gains. With the things that we talked about with me taking over the job, my vision for him. What I wanted to do with him and for him. Everything was working out perfectly. And I’m proud of him for that.”

The 25th overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, Little averaged 13.1 points and 7.5 rebounds as a starter for the Trail Blazers in January, shooting 45.4% from the floor and 40% from 3-point range.

“He didn’t play very much before I was here, or at least have a consistent role,” said Billups, in his first season as Portland coach. “So one of the things for him was to try to earn the trust of the coaching staff and he did that. He earned the trust of his [teammates]. He did that. He accomplished so many things that were necessary for him as a young player in a short amount of time that I’m happy and proud of him for.”

Little, who started in his last 21 games, had 19 points in Sunday’s win at Toronto and 20 in Tuesday’s game against the Timberwolves before getting hurt.

Before Johnson sprained his left ankle earlier this month, he had multiple 3-pointers in a franchise-record 22 consecutive games and had scored in double-figures a career-high 19 games in a row. When he returned after missing three games with that injury, he combined for 23 points and three 3-pointers in his first three games back.

He matched that point total on Friday night.

Johnson appears to have found his offensive rhythm again after scoring 23 points and a career-high-tying five 3-pointers as host Phoenix beat Minnesota 134–124 for the Suns’ ninth consecutive victory.

In his third consecutive start, Johnson also collected five rebounds, four assists and two steals to put up a 21.2 game score, tied for his second-best this season. The other 21.2 game score came when he scored a season-high 24 points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 6.

Johnson assisted on key 3-pointers in the final minutes by Landry Shamet and Chris Paul, who had a triple-double with 21 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.

“He’s listening to us and just shooting the ball,” Paul said of Johnson. “Sometimes, he doesn’t realize how good he is. We’re just happy he’s on our team.”

Johnson, who has scored at least 20 points in two of the last three games and six times this season, had his fifth career game with five 3-pointers, with four of those this season.

Johnson is starting and playing more while the Suns play without injured starters Deandre Ayton (right ankle sprain) and Jae Crowder (left wrist contusion). Phoenix is also playing without injured reserves JaVale McGee (left knee soreness) and Cameron Payne (right wrist sprain).

Phoenix is off to a franchise-record 39–9 start, which is the best record in the league by 3½ games over Golden State.

Danny Green returned Thursday after missing seven games with right hip pain and quickly made an impact by making his first two 3-point attempts. He was on a minutes restriction, scoring nine points and three 3-pointers in 16 minutes of Philadelphia’s 105–87 Thursday home win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

“He was good tonight,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “He made some shots for us. When Danny plays, he’s really clever. The way he was guarding [Russell] Westbrook? Of the guys, he’s the best on Westbrook because he plays with his brain. He’s so smart.”


Green, who was also dealing with a calf issue, has missed 18 games this season, including seven with a left hamstring injury.

Coming off the bench for the third consecutive game, Coby White brought plenty of offense.

White made all six of his first-half shots, half of those 3-pointers, and finished with 18 points and four 3-pointers in Chicago’s 131–122 loss at San Antonio. It was White’s eighth game this season with at least four 3-pointers. His 15.0 game score was his seventh this season with at least a 15 score.

Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball had arthroscopic left knee surgery Friday and is expected to be out six to eight weeks. Instead of White taking over Ball’s starting spot, Ayo Dosunmu, a rookie out of Illinois, has started eight consecutive games.

Tony Bradley played two scoreless minutes.

Cole Anthony had 12 points, six rebounds and nine assists in Orlando’s 119–103 Friday home win over Detroit after his comments to a referee Wednesday proved to be costly.

The NBA fined Anthony $25,000 Friday for directing profane and derogatory remarks to a game official near the end of the Magic’s 111–102 Wednesday home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

On Saturday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Anthony has committed to participating in the slam-dunk contest during All-Star weekend.

Orlando has the league’s worst record at 10–40.

After not playing in four of the Los Angeles Lakers’ previous five games, Wayne Ellington got into their last two games. He had three points in 10 minutes of Thursday’s 105–87 loss at Philadelphia and nine points and three 3-pointers in 17 minutes of their 117–114 Friday loss at Charlotte.

(Thursday and Friday)
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
119–103 win
Friday vs. Detroit — Started; 36 minutes, 12 points, 4–15 FG, 0–5 3FG, 4–5 FT, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, +12, 7.4 game score
Season statistics —
36 games, 17.9 points, 39.2 FG%, 32.4 3FG%, 83.8 FT%, 6.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists
Up next — 7 p.m. Sunday vs. Dallas; 8 p.m. Tuesday at Chicago
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward
Off Thursday and Friday
Season statistics
— 45 games, 16.5 points, 45.0 FG%, 41.1 3FG%, 83.4 FT%, 6.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Up next — 7:30 Saturday at Philadelphia; 7:30 Monday at New York
Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center
131–122 loss
Friday at San Antonio — 2 minutes, 0 points, -5, 0.0 game score
Season statistics — 34 games, 3.4 points, 56.5 FG%, 76.5 FT%, 4.0 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist
Up next — 3:30 p.m. Sunday vs. Portland; 8 p.m. Tuesday vs. Orlando
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
Off Thursday and Friday
Season statistics —
41 games, 6.4 points, 38.8 FG%, 31.9 3P%, 77.3 FT%, 3.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Up next —
7 p.m. Saturday vs. Indiana; 7 p.m. Sunday at Orlando
Ed Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers center
Off Thursday and Friday
Season statistics —
15 games, 1.4 points, 64.3 FG%, 37.5 FT%, 2.9 rebounds, 0.2 of an assist
Up next — 6 p.m. Sunday at Detroit; 7 p.m. Monday vs. New Orleans
Wayne Ellington, Los Angeles Lakers guard
105–87 Thursday loss at Philadelphia —
10 minutes, 3 points, 1–4 FG, 1–4 3FG, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, -1, 1.9 game score
117–114 Friday loss at Charlotte — 17 minutes, 9 points, 3–8 FG, 3–5 3FG, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover, -12, 5.3 game score
Season statistics — 33 games, 6.2 points, 39.5 FG%, 38.8 3FG%, 4–5 FT, 1.7 rebounds, 0.7 of an assist
Up next — 1 p.m. Sunday at Atlanta; 10:30 Wednesday vs. Portland
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
105–87 Thursday win vs. Los Angeles Lakers —
16 minutes, 9 points, 3–8 FG, 3–7 3FG, 2 rebounds, 1 turnover, +15, 4.2 game score
Season statistics — 30 games, 6.8 points, 40.6 FG%, 38.4 3FG%, 9–10 FT, 2.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Up next — 7:30 Saturday vs. Sacramento; 7 p.m. Monday vs. Memphis
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
Friday win vs. Minnesota — Started; 37 minutes, 23 points, 8–13 FG, 5–9 3FG, 2–3 FT, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover, +4,  21.2 game scoreSeason statistics — 44 games, 11.8 points, 45.4 FG%, 43.1 3FG%, 4.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Up next — 8 p.m. Sunday vs. San Antonio; 10 p.m. Tuesday vs. Brooklyn, TNT
Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers wing
Friday win at Houston — Missed second consecutive game with a labral tear in his left shoulder, possibly out for the season
Season statistics 42 games, 9.8 points, 46.0 FG%, 33.1 3P%, 73.4 FT%, 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Up next — 3:30 Sunday at Chicago; 8 p.m. Monday at Oklahoma City
Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard
Off Thursday and Friday
NBA season statistics —
14 games, 1.8 points, 27.6 FG, 22.7 3FG, 4–4 FT, 1.4 rebounds, 0.9 of an assist
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 at7 p.m. Saturday vs. Indiana; Texas Legends play at 8:30 Saturday vs. South Bay Lakers
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center
Off Thursday and Friday
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 — 8:30 Saturday at Golden State, ABC; 10 p.m. Tuesday at Phoenix, TNT
Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard
131–122 Friday loss at San Antonio —
29 minutes, 18 points, 7–9 FT, 4–6 3FG, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, +/- of 0, 15.0 game score
Season statistics — 30 games, 12.7 points, 44.4 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Up next — 3:30 p.m. Sunday vs. Portland; 8 p.m. Tuesday vs. Orlando

In the G League
Justin Jackson, Texas Legends (Mavericks affiliate) forward
Off Thursday and Friday
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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