Tar Heels in NBA: Johnson scores 13 Sunday, starts as Suns split weekend games

By R.L. Bynum

Without All-Star Devin Booker, Cameron Johnson is starting for Phoenix. But the Suns’ series with the New Orleans Pelicans, who went 36–46 during the regular season, suddenly got a lot tougher for the team that had the NBA’s best regular-season record.

The teams split a pair of weekend games in New Orleans and the first-round series returns to Phoenix for Game 5 at 10 p.m. Tuesday (TNT) tied at 2. Booker is out indefinitely with a strained right hamstring after he scored 31 points in the first half of Game 2.

Johnson rebounded from an eight-point game in Friday’s 114–111 Suns win with 13 points Sunday, but in a 118–103 defeat. In the two games, he combined to go 7 of 19 from the floor and 5 of 12 from 3-point range.

“We’re a team that has been in these situations and we’ve got to pull together and get it done,” Johnson said.

After putting up a 1.6 game score on Friday for his lowest in now 25 career playoff games, he rebounded with an 8.2 Sunday with five rebounds and three assists.

Johnson collected three 3-pointers Sunday to tie Wesley Person for 11th on the Suns’ all-time playoffs 3-pointers list with 40.

“It’s part of basketball, it’s part of the game, and not everything goes your way every time,” Johnson said of the loss. “If it did, then there would be no need to play the game. Sometimes the other team rises a little bit but you’ve got to stay steady. Nobody has been just winning, winning, winning with nothing stopping them. It’s part of sports, it’s part of life. I have the utmost confidence in our group.”

Johnson said that New Orleans, former Duke star Brandon Ingram (30 points Sunday) and C.J. McCollum (18 points) present lots of challenges.

“The way they attack you, you’ve got to find the borderline physicality, how you can guard Ingram and McCollum and keep them off the boards,” Johnson said. “They’re crashing the offensive board and they’re throwing us out the way. So, we’ve got to match that physicality and figure out the ways in which that physicality can turn our way. But that’s the problem they present.

“They’ve also made it hard on us to hit our shots,” he said. “That’s also on us and we can be a lot better and we will be a lot better.”


Even with the return of star Luka Dončić, Dallas lost Game 3 Saturday at Utah 100–99 as the Jazz tied the series at 2 heading back to Dallas for Game 5 at 9:30 Monday (TNT).

Reggie Bullock once again played more minutes than anybody in the game at 45 minutes, 40 seconds. He collected 11 points, seven rebounds and a block but had his lowest game score of the series at 9.4.


Danny Green was 2 of 10 from the floor Saturday and scored only six points as Philadelphia failed to close out its first-round series with Toronto. After the Raptors’ 110–101 victory, the Sixers lead the series 3–1, with Game 5 at 8 p.m. Monday (NBATV) in Philadelphia.


The Chicago Bulls’ playoff struggles at home continued. They lost two games over the weekend at home to the Milwaukee Bucks, 111–81 on Friday and 119–95 on Sunday, for their second and third consecutive 20-point home playoff losses dating back to 2017.

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The Bucks take a 3–1 first-round series lead into Game 5 Wednesday in Milwaukee.

Coby White combined to go 3 of 14 from the floor and 1 of 9 from 3-point range in the two games, with six points and eight rebounds on Friday and two points, two rebounds and two assists on Sunday.

Tony Bradley made all five of his shots and had 10 points and three rebounds Friday but didn’t play on Sunday (coach’s decision).


The Brooklyn Nets face elimination in Game 4 Monday night at home (7 p.m., TNT) after falling behind 3–0 in their first-round series to Boston. The Celtics beat the Nets 109–103 on Saturday. Day’Ron Sharpe, who has only played 22 seconds in Game 2, didn’t play on Saturday (coach’s decision).

(Friday through Sunday)
Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center
111–81 Game 3 Friday loss vs. Milwaukee
— 6 minutes, 10 points, 5–5 FG, 3 rebounds, +5, 9.4 game score
119–95 Game 4 Sunday loss vs. Milwaukee — Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Playoff statistics — Friday’s game was his first playoff game this season
Regular-season statistics —
55 games, 3.0 points, 58.5 FG%, 65.5 FT%, 3.4 rebounds, 0.5 of an assist
Series scores, schedule
April 17: Milwaukee 93, Chicago 86
April 20: Chicago 114, Milwaukee 110
Friday: Milwaukee 111, Chicago 81
Sunday: Milwaukee 119, Chicago 95; Bucks lead series 3–1
Wednesday at Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m.
x — Friday, April 29 at Chicago, TBD, TBD
x — Sunday, May 1 at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD
x — If needed
———————————————
Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
100–99 Game 4 Saturday loss at Utah
Started; 46 minutes, 11 points, 4–9 FG, 3–8 3FG, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, -2, 9.4 game score
Playoff statistics — 4 games, 12.3 points, 50.0 FG%, 44.4 3P%, 4–4 FT, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists
Regular-season statistics —
68 games, 8.6 points, 40.1 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 83.3 FT%, 3.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Series scores, schedule
April 16: Utah 99, Dallas 93
April 18: Dallas 110, Utah 105
Thursday: Dallas 126, Utah 118
Saturday: Utah 100, Dallas 99; series tied at 2
Monday at Dallas, 9:30, TNT
Thursday, April 28 at Utah, TBD, TBD
x — Saturday, April 30 at Dallas, TBD, TBD
x — If needed
———————————————
Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers forward
110–102 Saturday Game 4 loss at Toronto
Started; 28 minutes, 6 points, 2–10 FG, 2–7 3FG, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, -4
Playoff statistics — 4 games, 7.0 points, 27.8 FG%, 28.6 3FG%, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists
Regular-season statistics —
62 games, 5.9 points, 39.4 FG%, 38.0 3FG%, 20–24 FT, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists
Series scores, schedule
April 16: Philadelphia 131, Toronto 111
April 18: Philadelphia 112, Toronto 97
Wednesday: Philadelphia 104, Toronto 101
Saturday: Toronto 110, Philadelphia 102; Sixers lead series 3–1
Monday at Philadelphia, 8 p.m., NBATV
x — Thursday, April 28 at Toronto, TBD, TBD
x — Saturday, April 30 at Philadelphia, TBD, TBD
x — If needed
———————————————
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
114–111 Game 3 Friday win at New Orleans —
Started; 27 minutes, 8 points, 3–7 FG, 2–5 3FG, 0–2 FT, 1 rebound, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, -4, 1.6 game score
118–103 Game 4 Sunday loss at New Orleans — Started; 32 minutes, 13 points, 4–12 FG, 3–7 3FG, 2–2 FT, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 fouls, -19, 8.2 game score
Playoff statistics — 4 games, 11.3 points, 45.7 FG%, 35.0 3FG%, 54.5 FT%, 2.8 rebounds, 0.5 of an assist
Regular-season statistics —
66 games, 12.5 points, 46.0 FG%, 42.5 3FG%, 86.0 FT%, 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists
Series scores, schedule
April 17: Phoenix 110, New Orleans 99
April 19: New Orleans 125, Phoenix 114
Friday: Phoenix 114, New Orleans 111
Sunday: New Orleans 118, Phoenix 103; series tied at 2
Tuesday at Phoenix, 10 p.m., TNT
Thursday, April 28 at New Orleans, TBD, TBD
x —Saturday, April 30 at Phoenix, TBD, TBD
x — If needed
———————————————
Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard
100–99 Game 4 Saturday loss at Utah
Not active for the game
Playoff statistics — Hasn’t played
Regular-season 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
Series scores, schedule
April 16: Utah 99, Dallas 93
April 18: Dallas 110, Utah 105
Thursday: Dallas 126, Utah 118
Saturday: Utah 100, Dallas 99; series tied at 2
Monday at Dallas, 9:30, TNT
x — Thursday, April 28 at Utah, TBD, TBD
x — Saturday, April 30 at Dallas, TBD, TBD
x — If needed
———————————————
Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center
109–103 Game 3 Saturday loss vs. Boston —
Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Playoff statistics — 1 game, 0 points
Regular-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
Series scores, schedule
April 17: Boston 115, Brooklyn 114
April 20:  Boston 114, Brooklyn 107
Saturday: Boston 109, Brooklyn 103; Celtics lead series 3–0
Monday at Brooklyn, 7 p.m., TNT
x — Wednesday at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
x — Friday, April 29: Boston at Brooklyn, TBD, TBD
x — Sunday, May 1: Brooklyn at Boston, TBD, TBD
x — If needed
———————————————
Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard
111–81 Game 3 Friday loss vs. Milwaukee
— 21 minutes, 6 points, 2–9 FG, 1–6 3FG, 1–2 FT, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, -19, 1.4 game score
119–95 Game 4 Sunday loss vs. Milwaukee — 13 minutes, 2 points, 1–5 FG, 0–3 3FG, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, -17
Playoff statistics — 3 games
, 7.7 points, 33.3 FG%, 30.8 3FG%, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists
Regular-season statistics — 61 games, 12.7 points, 43.3 FG%, 38.5 3P%, 86.7 FT%, 3.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists
Series scores, schedule
April 17: Milwaukee 93, Chicago 86
April 20: Chicago 114, Milwaukee 110
Friday: Milwaukee 111, Chicago 81
Sunday: Milwaukee 119, Chicago 95; Bucks lead series 3–1
Wednesday at Milwaukee, 8:30 p.m.
x — Friday, April 29 at Chicago, TBD, TBD
x — Sunday, May 1 at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD
x — If needed
———————————————

Photo via @Suns

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