Tar Heels in NBA: Tough shooting games for Anthony, Bullock, Johnson; Anthony suffers oblique injury

By R.L. Bynum

Several former UNC players have begun the season struggling with their shots and this week that’s included Cole Anthony, Reggie Bullock and Cameron Johnson, while others simply aren’t getting off many shots. Harrison Barnes gets a chance Thursday to shake off his tough start.

Anthony’s poor shooting continued as Orlando fell to an NBA-worst 0–5 with a 99–89 loss at Cleveland. He was 2 of 10 from the floor and 1 of 5 on 3-point attempts, finishing with nine points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Adding to all that frustration, Anthony suffered a right oblique muscle injury in the game, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The team said that his return to play will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation and treatment. He played more than eight minutes in the fourth quarter.

Anthony, who is 8 of 28 in his last two games, hasn’t been getting much backcourt help, as the team has been without Markelle Fultz (left big toe fracture), Jalen Suggs (right ankle sprain) and Gary Harris (left knee rehabilitation).

On the positive side, since the start of the 2020–21 season, Anthony is one of four players younger than 23 to average more than 15 points, five rebounds and five assists per game, along with Dallas’ Luka Doncic, Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball and Detroit’s Cade Cunningham.


In the Dallas Mavericks’ 113–111 Tuesday loss at New Orleans, Bullock went 1 of 8 from the floor and 1 of 6 from 3-point range. In 35 minutes, he had three points, five rebounds and two assists. Theo Pinson didn’t play in the game (coach’s decision) for Dallas (1–2).


The Phoenix Suns (3–1) beat the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors 134–105 on Tuesday night, but Johnson was 3 of 11 from the floor and 1 of 6 from 3-point range. He contributed nine points, five rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes.

Already dealing with the aftereffects of a hip contusion, Johnson hit the floor at one point when the Warriors’ Draymond Green shoved the Suns’ Jock Landale into him with 4:45 left in the game. Johnson fell on his back and hip but stayed in the game.


Barnes, whose Sacramento Kings (0–3) play host Thursday to Memphis, has missed all five 3-point attempts through three games and is shooting 36.8% from the floor after shooting 3 for 11 in the last two games.


Day’Ron Sharpe, Coby White, Nassir Little and Walker Kessler haven’t been shooting that poorly but also haven’t gotten off many shots of late.

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In the Brooklyn Nets’ 110–99 Wednesday loss at Milwaukee, Sharpe had three points on 1 of 3 shooting with three rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block in 13 minutes. He is 6 of 16 for the season. The Nets are 1–3 after back-to-back losses.

White was 2 of 6 from the floor (all 3-point attempts) and finished with six points, three rebounds and a steal in the Chicago Bulls’ 124–109 Wednesday home win over Indiana to go 3–2 with their second consecutive win. For the third time in five games, Tony Bradley didn’t play (coach’s decision).

Little missed both 3-point attempts and was 1 of 3 from the floor for 2 points in Portland’s 119–98 home loss to Miami. He added a rebound and a steal in the first loss of the season for the 4–1 Blazers.

Kessler missed his only shot and scored four points (all from the free-throw line) in Utah’s 109–101 Wednesday home win over Houston. He added a rebound and a block for the 4–1 Jazz.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard

Age 22 | 6–3, 185 | third NBA season | UNC 2019–20 (1 season)

103–92 Wednesday at Cleveland — Started; 32 minutes, 9 points, 2–10 FG, 1–5 3FG, 4–4 FT, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 3 fouls, -17, 3.5 game score
Season statistics — 4 games, 15.5 points, 41.5 FG%, 35.0 3P%, 73.4 FT%, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.7 turnovers, 1.0 steal
Next games — 7 p.m. Friday vs. Charlotte, Bally Sports Southeast; 7:30 Sunday at Dallas
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Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward

Age 30 | 6–8, 225 | 11th NBA season | UNC 2010–12 (2 seasons)

Off Tuesday and Wednesday
Season statistics — 3 games, 7.0 points, 36.8 FG%, 0 of 5 3FG, 53.8 FT%, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Next games 10 p.m. Thursday vs. Memphis; 6 p.m. Saturday vs. Miami
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Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center

Age 24 | 6–10, 248 | sixth NBA season | UNC 2016–17 (1 season)

124–109 Wednesday win vs. Indiana — Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 2 games, 0 points, 0–1 FG, 1.5 rebounds
Next games 8:30 Friday at San Antonio; 8 p.m. Saturday vs. Philadelphia, NBATV
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Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks small forward

Age 31 | 6–6, 205 | 10th NBA season | UNC 2010–13 (3 seasons)

113–111 Tuesday loss at New Orleans — Started; 35 minutes, 3 points, 1–8 FG, 1–6 3FG, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 4 fouls, -2, 1.5 game score
Season statistics 3 games, 7.0 points, 36.8 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 1 of 1 FT, 3.3 rebounds, 1.0 assist
Next games 7:30 Thursday at Brooklyn, NBATV; 9 p.m. Saturday vs. Oklahoma City
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Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward

Age 27 | 6–8, 220| sixth NBA season | UNC 2014–17 (3 seasons)

Off Tuesday and Wednesday
Season statistics (1 game) — 5 minutes, 6 points, 2–3 FG, 2–2 3FG, +3
Next games — 7:30 Friday vs. Cleveland; 6 p.m. Sunday vs. Washington
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Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns power forward

Age 26 | 6–8, 210 | fourth NBA season | UNC 2017–19 (2 seasons)

134–105 Tuesday win vs. Golden State — Started; 33 minutes, 9 points, 3–11 FG, 1–6 3FG, 2–4 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, +26, 5.8 game score
Season statistics 4 games, 10.0 points, 38.5 FG%, 36.4 3P%, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 assist
Next games 10 p.m. Friday vs. New Orleans, ESPN; 9 p.m. Sunday vs. Houston
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Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz center

Age 21 | 7–0, 245 | rookie NBA season | UNC 2020–21 (1 season)

109–101 Wednesday win vs. Houston — 11 minutes, 4 points, 0–1 FG, 4–4 FT, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, -4, 3.2 game score
Season statistics 5 games, 5.8 points, 62.5 FG, 60.0 FT, 5.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.6 blocks
Next games 9 p.m. Friday at Denver; 9 p.m. Saturday vs. Memphis
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Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers small forward

Age 22 | 6–5, 220 | fourth NBA season | UNC 2018–19 (1 season)

119–98 Wednesday vs. Miami — 18 minutes, 2 points, 1–3 FG, 0–2 3FG, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 foul, -5, 0.6 game score
Season statistics 5 games, 5.8 points, 54.5 FG%, 36.4 3P%, 2.2 rebounds, 0.4 of an assist
Next games 10 p.m. Friday vs. Houston; 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Memphis, ESPN
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Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard

Age 26 | 6–5, 212 | fifth NBA season | UNC 2014–18 (4 seasons)

113–111 Tuesday loss at New Orleans Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics (1 game) — 7 minutes, 2 points, 2–2 FT, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, +8, 3.3 game score
Next games 7:30 Thursday at Brooklyn, NBATV; 9 p.m. Saturday vs. Oklahoma City
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Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center

Age 20 | 6–9, 265 | second NBA season | UNC 2020–21 (1 season)

110–99 Wednesday loss at Milwaukee — 13 minutes, 3 points, 1–3 FG, 1–2 FT, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, -6, 2.4 game score
Season statistics 4 games, 4.0 points, 37.5 FG%, 0–1 3P%, 5.3 rebounds, 1.0 block, 1.3 of an assist
Next games 7:30 Thursday vs. Dallas, NBATV; 7:30 Saturday vs. Indiana
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Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard

Age 22 | 6–4, 195 | fourth NBA season| UNC 2018–19 (1 season)

124–109 Wednesday win vs. Indiana — 12 minutes, 6 points, 2–6 FG, 2–6 3FG, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 foul, +3, 4.1 game score
Season statistics 4 games, 6.3 points, 34.6 FG%, 23.5 3P%, 1.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists
Next games 8:30 Friday at San Antonio; 8 p.m. Saturday vs. Philadelphia, NBATV
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Out while recovering from surgery
Memphis forward Danny Green will miss most of the season after surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee suffered in May.
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Get an explanation of the game score metric here.

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