Tar Heels in NBA: Seven UNC alums in playoffs this weekend

By R.L. Bynum

Seven Tar Heels will begin play in the NBA playoffs this weekend. Cameron Johnson’s Phoenix Suns are a solid threat to win the title and the Dallas Mavericks, with Reggie Bullock and Theo Pinson, are playing like they could make a long run.

Joining them in the playoffs are Danny Green of the Philadelphia 76ers, Coby White and Tony Bradley of the Chicago Bulls and Day’Ron Sharpe of the Brooklyn Nets.

Ed Davis could have been the eighth Tar Heel in the playoffs but his Cleveland Cavaliers lost a play-in tournament elimination game at home Friday to the Atlanta Hawks 107-101.

All first-round series are best-of-seven.


Phoenix opens its first-round series at 9 p.m. Sunday at home (TNT) against the New Orleans Pelicans, who beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105–101 Friday night in a play-in tournament elimination game.

The Suns (64–18), the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed with the league’s best record, won three of four meetings with the Pelicans and split four meetings with the Clippers.

Johnson averaged 12.5 points and had 166 3-pointers in 66 games. His 42.5% shooting from 3-point range was fourth in the league. He scored 24 points and four 3-pointers in a Jan. 6 home 106–89 win over the Clippers and 18 points and five 3-pointers in a Jan. 4 road 123–110 win over the Pelicans.


The Mavericks went 36–12 after starting the season 16–18. Dallas (52–30), the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, hosts the first game of the playoffs at 1 p.m. Saturday (ESPN) against the No. 5-seed Utah Jazz (49–33).

Dallas is expected to be without star Luka Doncic in the game, though, after he strained his left calf last week.

The home team won each game as the teams split the four regular-season meetings. Bullock tied his season-high with 23 points and scored a season-high seven 3-pointers in the Mavericks’ 114–100 victory on March 27.

Pinson had nine points against the Jazz in his third game for the Mavericks on Christmas Day, a 120–119 road loss in his only game against Utah.


It was a rough second half of the regular season for Coby White, Tony Bradley and the Chicago Bulls, who went from being near the top of the Eastern Conference to finishing sixth with a 46–36 record and losses in four of their last five games.

The No. 6 Eastern Conference seed Bulls open their first-round series with the reigning NBA champion and No. 3 seed Milwaukee Bucks at 6:30 Sunday night (TNT). The Bucks won all four regular-season meetings, with White’s best game 13 points and three 3-pointers in a 127–106 April 5 home defeat.

White, who missed the regular-season finale with a sprained left toe, scored 19 points and six 3-pointers in a loss to Charlotte in his final regular-season game and averaged 12.7 points in 61 games. He started 17 games, but only started twice since mid-February despite Lonzo Ball being out for the season.

Bradley, who scored a season-high 11 points in the Bulls’ 124–120 Sunday over Minnesota to end the regular season, has played sparingly. He played 55 games, starting seven consecutive November games, and never played more than 15 minutes after December.


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Green begins pursuit of his fourth NBA title when the Sixers (51–31), the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, host one of his former teams, the No. 5-seed Toronto Raptors, in Game 1 of their series at 6 p.m. Saturday (ESPN). Toronto won three of four regular-season meetings.

It hasn’t been a productive offensive season for Green, whose 5.9 scoring average was his lowest since he averaged 5.1 points in eight games during the 2010–11 season.


Day’Ron Sharpe’s Brooklyn Nets (44–38) open their first-round series with the Celtics, the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, at 3:30 Sunday (ABC).

The Nets, the No. 7 seed, earned that spot by beating Cleveland 115–108 at home Tuesday in a play-in game. Neither Davis nor Sharpe played in that game (coach’s decision). Sharpe hasn’t gotten into a Brooklyn game since Feb. 28. He played 10 games since December for the G League Long Island Nets, averaging 18 points and 9.8 rebounds.

Tar Heels in NBA playoffs

Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center
Season statistics —
55 games, 3.0 points, 58.5 FG%, 65.5 FT%, 3.4 rebounds, 0.5 of an assist
Up next — Game 1, first-round series: 6:30 Sunday at Milwaukee, TNT
———————————————
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
Season statistics —
68 games, 8.6 points, 40.1 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 83.3 FT%, 3.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Up next —
Game 1, first-round series: 1 p.m. Saturday vs. Utah, ESPN
———————————————
Ed Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers center
115–108 Tuesday play-in tournament loss at Brooklyn
Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
107–101 Friday play-in tournament loss vs. Atlanta Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 31 games, 0.9 of a point, 68.8 FG%, 42.9 FT%, 2.1 rebounds, 0.2 of an assist
Season over
———————————————
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
Season statistics —
62 games, 5.9 points, 39.4 FG%, 38.0 3FG%, 20–24 FT, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists
Up next — Game 1, first-round series: 6 p.m. Saturday vs. Toronto, ESPN
———————————————
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
Season statistics —
66 games, 12.5 points, 46.0 FG%, 42.5 3FG%, 86.0 FT%, 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists
Up next — Game 1, first-round series: 9 p.m. Sunday vs. New Orleans, TNT
———————————————
Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard
NBA season statistics —
19 games, 2.5 points, 35.9 FG%, 33.3 3FG%, 10–10 FT, 1.1 rebounds, 0.9 assists
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 — Game 1, first-round series: 1 p.m. Saturday vs. Utah, ESPN
———————————————
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center
115–108 Tuesday play-in tournament win vs. Cleveland —
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
G League statistics (2021 part of season) — 4 games, 18.0 points, 47.8 FG%, 33.33P%, 85.7 FT%, 9.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 2.6 blocks
G League statistics (2022 part of season) — 10 games, 18.8 points, 51.0 FG%, 33.3 3FG%, 40.0 FT%, 13.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists
Up next — Game 1, first-round series: 3:30 Sunday at Boston, ABC
———————————————
Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard
Season statistics —
61 games, 12.7 points, 43.3 FG%, 38.5 3P%, 86.7 FT%, 3.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists
Up next — Game 1, first-round series: 6:30 Sunday at Milwaukee, TNT
———————————————

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