Tar Heels in NBA: Johnson leads Suns to win without Paul, Booker; Barnes scores 19 in loss

By R.L. Bynum

Without Phoenix’s All-Star backcourt, some would have figured that the Suns might have a tough time winning on Wednesday night. But they didn’t figure Cameron Johnson into the equation.

After the Suns has lost two consecutive games with Johnson in the starting lineup, he came off the bench to score 20 points, four 3-pointers and dish out four assists as they blew out Portland 120–90 at home for their 50th win of the season.

“It feels good,” Johnson said. “Fifty is a big benchmark in this league, but now we want to get to 60.”

All-Star Chris Paul has been out since Feb. 16 with a broken thumb and could miss the rest of the regular season. All-Star Devin Booker also missed Wednesday’s game after entering the league’s health-and-safety protocols. But Johnson’s big game, along with 18 points from Deandre Ayton, more than compensated.

Johnson was 6 of 8 from the floor and 4 of 5 from 3-point range for a 20.4 game score. Johnson has five game scores of at least 20 this season after not doing it once in his first two seasons. He has at least four 3-pointers in 16 games this season after doing it 10 times combined in his first two seasons.

“Playing out of our secondary breaks and getting into our actions with pace and everybody moving — that’s big for this group without Chris and Devin,” Johnson said.

He’s averaged 19.8 points, 3.8 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 3.8 3-pointers in the last four games. He’s scored at least 20 points twice since the All-Star break.

Phoenix (50–12) leads Golden State for the league’s best record by seven games.


Harrison Barnes had 19 points, three 3-pointers and four rebounds but his Sacramento Kings lost 125–95 at New Orleans, and have lost five of their last six games.


Cole Anthony collected 11 points, two rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in Orlando’s 122–114 home loss to Indiana that snapped a two-game winning streak.


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Danny Green came off the Philadelphia bench for the fourth consecutive game, scoring six points and two 3-pointers with three assists in 20 minutes as the host Sixers beat New York 123–108.


Ed Davis got into a Cleveland game for the first time since Feb. 12, going scoreless with two rebounds in four minutes of the Cavaliers’ 119–98 home loss to Charlotte.


On Tuesday, Reggie Bullock contributed seven points and six rebounds in Dallas’ 109–104 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Theo Pinson missed the game with a fracture of his right fifth finger. For the eighth time in the last 11 games, Wayne Ellington didn’t play (coach’s decision) for the Lakers.


Day’Ron Sharpe didn’t play (coach’s decision) in Brooklyn’s 109–108 Tuesday road loss at Toronto. It was the second time in three games he hasn’t played and the third time in the last six.


In the G League on Tuesday, Justin Jackson collected 19 points, three 3-pointers and six rebounds in his Texas Legends’ 99–94 road victory over the Austin Spurs.

(Tuesday and Wednesday)
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard
122–114
Wednesday loss vs. Indiana — Started; 38 minutes, 11 points, 4–13 FG, 0–4 3FG, 3–3 FT, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, +7, 7.8 game score
Season statistics —
49 games, 17.4 points, 39.4 FG%, 33.0 3FG%, 85.7 FT%, 5.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists
Up next — 7:30 Friday at Toronto; 8 p.m. Saturday at Memphis
———————————————
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward
125–95
Wednesday loss at New Orleans — Started; 31 minutes, 19 points, 6–11 FG, 3–6 3FG, 4–5 FT, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover, -12, 15.2 game score
Season statistics — 59 games, 17.2 points, 46.9 FG%, 41.0 3FG%, 83.5 FT%, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Up next —  8:30 Thursday at San Antonio; 5 p.m. Saturday at Dallas
———————————————
Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center
Off Tuesday and Wednesday
Season statistics — 46 games, 3.1 points, 58.7 FG%, 66.7 FT%, 3.7 rebounds, 0.5 of an assist
Up next — 7 p.m. Thursday at Atlanta; 7:30 Friday vs Milwaukee, ESPN
———————————————
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
109–104 Tuesday win at Los Angeles Lakers —
Started; 36 minutes, 7 points, 2–9 FG, 1–7 3FG, 2–3 FT, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers, -6, 2.9 game score
Season statistics —
52 games, 8.3 points, 41.1 FG%, 36.3 3P%, 84.2 FT%, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist
Up next —
8:30 Thursday vs. Golden State; 5 p.m. Saturday vs. Sacramento
———————————————
Ed Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers center
119
98 Wednesday loss vs. Charlotte 4 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, -1, -0.2 game score
Season statistics — 20 games, 1.1 points, 64.3 FG%, 37.5 FT%, 2.3 rebounds, 0.3 of an assist
Up next — 7 p.m. Friday at Philadelphia; 7:30 Sunday vs. Toronto, ESPN
———————————————
Wayne Ellington, Los Angeles Lakers guard
109–104 Tuesday loss vs. Dallas —
Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 36 games, 6.2 points, 39.2 FG%, 38.4 3FG%, 4–5 FT, 1.7 rebounds, 0.7 of an assist
Up next — 10 p.m. Thursday at Los Angeles Clippers, TNT; 8:30 Saturday vs. Golden State, ABC
———————————————
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
123–108 Wednesday win
vs. New York 20 minutes, 6 points, 2–5 FG, 2–5 3FG, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, -4, 2.9 game score
Season statistics — 43 games, 6.3 points, 40.0 FG%, 37.6 3FG%, 12–14 FT, 2.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist
Up next — 7 p.m. Friday vs. Cleveland; 8 p.m. Saturday at Miami
———————————————
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
120–90 Wednesday win vs. Portland
24 minutes, 20 points, 6–8 FG, 4–5 3FG, 4–4 FT, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, +19, 20.4 game score
Season statistics —
59 games, 12.4 points, 46.9FG%, 43.7 3FG%, 87.2 FT%, 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists
Up next — 10 p.m. Friday vs. New York, ESPN; 3:30 Sunday at Milwaukee, ABC
———————————————
Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers wing
Is out for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder
Season statistics — 42 games, 9.8 points, 46.0 FG%, 33.1 3P%, 73.4 FT%, 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists
———————————————
Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard
109–104 Tuesday win at Los Angeles Lakers —
Missed game with fracture of right fifth finger
NBA season statistics —
16 games, 1.8 points, 28.1 FG%, 24.0 3FG, 44 FT, 1.2 rebounds, 0.8 of an assist
G League season statistics —
14 games, 15.7 points, 40.4 FG%, 38.6 3FG%, 84.8 FT%, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 steals
Up next — 8:30 Thursday vs. Golden State; 5 p.m. Saturday vs. Sacramento
———————————————
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center
109–108 Tuesday loss at Toronto —
Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season NBA statistics — 32 games, 6.2 points, 57.7 FG%, 28.6 3P%, 58.5% FT, 5.0 rebounds, 0.5 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 — 7:30 Thursday vs. Miami; 1 p.m. Sunday at Boston, ABC
———————————————
Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard
Off Tuesday and Wednesday
Season statistics — 42 games, 13.8 points, 44.8 FG%, 40.2 3P%, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists
Up next — 7 p.m. Thursday at Atlanta; 7:30 Friday vs Milwaukee, ESPN
———————————————
In the G League
Justin Jackson, Texas Legends forward
99–94 Tuesday win at Austin Spurs —
Started; 33 minutes, 19 points, 8–19 FG, 3–10 3FG, 0–2 FT, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, +6
NBA season statistics — 7 games, 2.1 points, 33.3% FG, 33.3% 3FG, 1.0 rebounds, 0.3 of an assist
G League season statistics (2022) — 13 games, 23.3 points, 40.2% FG, 38.2% 3FG, 82.5 FT%, 6.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Up next — 7:30 Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday at Sioux Falls Skyforce (Heat affiliate);
———————————————

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