Tar Heels in NBA: Bullock is +44, advances to first conference finals but Johnson’s season ends

By R.L. Bynum

For the first time in his career, Reggie Bullock will play in a conference finals series, which means that Cameron Johnson will be denied a second consecutive trip to the Western Conference finals.

In one of the most improbable beatdowns in the history of NBA Game 7s, the visiting Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 123–90 victory over the Phoenix Suns, who had the best regular-season record in the league, to win the series 4–3.

Johnson led the Suns in scoring with 12 points, but he didn’t get much help.

Bullock didn’t have a big offensive night with only five points, but led the defensive effort that neutralized Suns stars Chris Paul (10 points) and Devin Booker (11 points) and was a team-high +44. That’s believed to be the best +/- in a Game 7 since the statistic has been kept. He added three rebounds and a steal.

Dallas, the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, faces the No. 3-seed Golden State Warriors in the conference finals. Game 1 is Wednesday at 9 p.m. (TNT)

The Mavericks’ 57–27 halftime lead was the biggest in a Game 7 in league history.

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It was the second Western Conference semifinals series for Bullock, who played only one game when his Los Angeles Clippers lost 4–2 in 2014 to Oklahoma City.

Along for the Mavericks’ ride to the Western Conference finals as a motivational leader cheering from the bench has been Theo Pinson, who has been inactive for every Dallas playoff game. Again Sunday, he donned his UNC monogram jacket.

Johnson came off the bench for Phoenix, as he did for most of the season, and also had five rebounds and two assists. His Suns lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in last season’s NBA finals.

“I wish I could rewind the clock five hours,” Johnson said after the game.

Johnson had a tough time guarding Luka Doncic, who scored 27 points in the first half and finished with 37.

Phoenix joined the 2007 Mavericks as the only teams in NBA history to win at least 64 games in the regular season and not make the conference finals.

Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks guard/forward
123–90 Game 7 win at Phoenix —
Started; 32 minutes, 5 points, 1–4 FG, 1–4 3FG, 2–2 FT, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, +44, 1.7 game score
Playoff statistics —
13 games, 10.2 points, 41.3 FG%, 38.9 3P%, 92.3 FT%, 5.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists
Regular-season statistics —
68 games, 8.6 points, 40.1 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 83.3 FT%, 3.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Mavericks-Suns Western Conference semifinals

Phoenix 121, Dallas 114
Phoenix 129, Dallas 109
Dallas 103, Phoenix 94
Dallas 111, Phoenix 101
Tuesday: Phoenix 110, Dallas 80
Thursday: Dallas 113, Phoenix 86
Sunday: Dallas 123, Phoenix 90; Mavericks win series 4–3
Mavericks-Warriors Western Conference finals
(All games at 9 p.m. on TNT)
Wednesday in San Francisco
Friday in San Francisco
Sunday in Dallas
Tuesday, May 24 in Dallas
X — Thursday, May 26 in San Francisco
X — Saturday, May 28 in Dallas
X — Monday, May 30 in San Francisco
X — If needed
———————————————
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns wing
123–90 Game 7 Thursday loss vs. Dallas —
20 minutes, 12 points, 3–6 FG, 2–4 3FG, 4–4 FT, 5 rebounds, -15, 11.5 game score
Playoff statistics — 13 games, 10.8 points, 46.5 FG%, 37.3 3FG%, 81.3 FT%, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists
Regular-season statistics —
66 games, 12.5 points, 46.0 FG%, 42.5 3FG%, 86.0 FT%, 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists
Mavericks-Suns Western Conference semifinals
Phoenix 121, Dallas 114
Phoenix 129, Dallas 109
Dallas 103, Phoenix 94
Dallas 111, Phoenix 101
Tuesday: Phoenix 110, Dallas 80
Thursday: Dallas 113, Phoenix 86
Sunday: Dallas 123, Phoenix 90; Mavericks win series 4–3
———————————————
Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard
123–90 Game 7 win at Phoenix —
Not active for 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
Mavericks-Suns Western Conference semifinals
Phoenix 121, Dallas 114
Phoenix 129, Dallas 109
Dallas 103, Phoenix 94
Dallas 111, Phoenix 101
Tuesday: Phoenix 110, Dallas 80
Thursday: Dallas 113, Phoenix 86
Sunday: Dallas 123, Phoenix 90; Mavericks win series 4–3
Mavericks-Warriors Western Conference finals
(All games at 9 p.m. on TNT)
Wednesday in San Francisco
Friday in San Francisco
Sunday in Dallas
Tuesday, May 24 in Dallas
X — Thursday, May 26 in San Francisco
X — Saturday, May 28 in Dallas
X — Monday, May 30 in San Francisco
X — If needed
———————————————

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