Tar Heels in NBA: White hits 2 clutch 3s late in best game of season; Kessler blocks 5 shots

By R.L. Bynum

In his second game back after missing eight games with a left quad contusion, Coby White had his best game of the season. He hit two huge late shots and showed nice hustle diving for loose balls.

In 25 minutes, White scored 14 points and four 3-pointers, putting up a season-high 13.6 game score in Chicago’s 118–113 road win Wednesday over the Milwaukee Bucks.

White’s clutch 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:15 left tied the game. DeMar DeRozan, who scored 36 points, passed out of a double-team to White, whose 3 from the right corner with 46.1 seconds left gave the Bulls the lead for good.

“The one thing I love about him is there is a resilience there,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “He doesn’t get too down on himself. He stays engaged and just believes in himself. Him and [Nikola Vučević] both made some big threes late to give us a little cushion. I give Coby a lot of credit coming off a lot of games off and the injury; it was great to see.”

There have been plenty of ups and downs for White since Chicago made him the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, including shoulder surgery last season when he missed 21 games. Still, he seems to have an amazing ability to keep a good attitude no matter what happens.

“Same way I approach every other game,” White told Sam Smith. “[I’ve] been in and out of the rotation, got hurt, which didn’t help me. Each game, I approach the same way. I’m not really an intense guy — kind of chill, laid back. Just get locked in. That’s how I approached it, how I normally approach it.

White, who had a season-high three steals and said he’s improved on the defensive end, deflected praise on his teammates who passed him the ball.

“I was open; they found me,” said White, whose best scoring game of the season was 19 points on Oct. 28 in a 129–124 loss at San Antonio when he had a 13.2 game score. “It wasn’t anything special, and I was open and finally knocked down some shots. I was just trying to get lost in the game, the competition of the game. I got an opportunity tonight, and I was just trying to leave an imprint on the game, whether that was defensively or offensively.”

The four 3-pointers were a season-high, and the most since he made six 3s on April 8 in a 133–117 home loss to Charlotte.


Rookie Walker Kessler blocked a season-high five shots and added five points and seven rebounds in Utah’s 125–116 home loss to Detroit. His high as a Tar Heel was four blocks against Florida State in a 78–70 home win on Feb. 27, 2021, but he had 12 blocks for Auburn on Feb. 12, 2022, in a 75–58 victory over Texas A&M.


Playing a road game for the second consecutive night, Harrison Barnes was held to eight points and seven rebounds as his Sacramento Kings had their seven-game win streak snapped with a 115–106 setback at Atlanta, which hadn’t played in two days.

It was Barnes’ first game scoring in single digits in the last five, and his 5.8 game score was his lowest in the last eight games. It was only the fourth time this season he didn’t attempt a free throw.


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Reggie Bullock had five points and one 3-pointer in the Dallas Mavericks’ 125–112 road loss to the Boston Celtics, his ninth game in 17 outings with five points or fewer.

The Mavs’ Theo Pinson got into a game for the fourth time this season, playing 1:45 and making his first field-goal attempt of the season for two points. Boston’s Justin Jackson entered a game for the fifth time this season, going scoreless in 1:36.


Nassir Little had five points and two rebounds in Portland’s 114–96 loss at Cleveland.


Day’Ron Sharpe scored five points and his second 3-pointer of the season in four minutes of the Brooklyn Nets’ 112–98 win at Toronto.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard

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

Off Wednesday
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. Philadelphia; 6 p.m. Sunday vs. Philadelphia
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Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward

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

115–106 Wednesday loss at Atlanta Started; 32 minutes, 8 points, 4–8 FG, 0–2 3FG, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, -8, 5.8 game score
Season statistics — 17 games, 13.2 points, 47.3 FG%, 28.8 3FG%, 86.3 FT%, 5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists
Next games 8 p.m. Friday at Boston; 10 p.m. Monday vs. Phoenix
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Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center

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

118–113 Wednesday win at Milwaukee — Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 5 games, 12 minutes, 5 points, 1–2 FG, 3–3 FT, 6 rebounds
Next games 8 p.m. Friday at Oklahoma City; 9 p.m. Monday at Utah
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Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks small forward

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

125–112 Wednesday loss at Boston — Started; 27 minutes, 5 points, 2–6 FG, 1–3 3FG, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 foul, -21, 1.2 game score
Season statistics 17 games, 5.1 points, 31.3 FG%, 29.5 3P%, 57.1 FT%, 3.1 rebounds, 1.0 assist
Next games 5 p.m. Saturday at Toronto; 8 p.m. Sunday at Milwaukee, NBATV
———————————————

Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward

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

125–112 Wednesday win vs. Dallas 2 minutes, 0 points, -2, 0.0 game score
Season statistics — 5 games, 26 minutes, 6 points, 2–7 FG, 2–6 3FG, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
Next games — 8 p.m. Friday vs. Sacramento; 6 p.m. Sunday vs. Washington
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Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz center

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

125–116 Wednesday loss vs. Detroit 21 minutes, 5 points, 2–2 FG, 1–2 FT, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks, 2 turnovers, 5 fouls, -4, 6.4 game score
Season statistics 17 games, 5.2 points, 69.6 FG%, 50.0 FT%, 5.1 rebounds, 0.8 of an assist, 1.5 blocks
Next games 10:30 Friday at Golden State; 9 p.m. Saturday at Phoenix
———————————————

Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers small forward

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

114–96 Wednesday loss at Cleveland 22 minutes, 5 points, 2–7 FG, 1–4 3FG, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, -11, 0.4 game score
Season statistics 18 games, 6.2 points, 48.3 FG%, 39.0 3P%, 2.5 rebounds, 0.9 of an assist
Next games 7:30 Friday at New York; 3 p.m. Sunday at Brooklyn
———————————————

Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard

Age 27 | 6–5, 212 | fifth NBA season | UNC 2014–18 (4 seasons)

125–112 Wednesday loss at Boston — 2 minutes, 2 points, 1–1 FG, +2, 1.3 game score
Season statistics — 4 games, 13 minutes, 4 points, 1–1 FG, 2–2 FT, 3 rebounds, 1 assist
Next games 5 p.m. Saturday at Toronto; 8 p.m. Sunday at Milwaukee, NBATV
———————————————

Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center

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

112–98 Wednesday win at Toronto 4 minutes, 5 points, 2–3 FG, 1–1 3FG, 3 rebounds, 1 block, -5, 5.7 game score
Season statistics 14 games, 111 minutes, 38 points, 14–30 FG, 2–3 3FG, 8–12 FG, 40 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals, 7 blocks
Next games 8 p.m. Friday at Indiana; 3 p.m. Sunday vs. Portland
———————————————

Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard

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

118–113 Wednesday win at Milwaukee 25 minutes, 14 points, 5–10 FG, 4–7 3FG, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, +7, 13.6 game score
Season statistics 10 games, 8.0 points, 37.8 FG%, 31.3 3P%, 1.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Next games 8 p.m. Friday at Oklahoma City; 9 p.m. Monday at Utah
———————————————

In the G League

Garrison Brooks, Westchester Knicks center

Age 23 | 6–10, 240 | Rookie| UNC 2017–21 (4 seasons)

Off Wednesday
Season statistics 6 games, 16.3 points, 61.2 FG%, 0–6 3P, 14.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals
Next games 7:30 Saturday vs. Long Island; 7 p.m. Monday vs. Greensboro

Out while recovering from surgery

— Phoenix forward Cameron Johnson is expected to return in early December or as late as early January after having right knee surgery on Nov. 8. His season statistics: 8 games, 13.0 points, 44.6 FG%, 43.1 3P%, 72.7 FT%, 2.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists
— 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.

Photo via @chicagobulls

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