Tar Heels in NBA: Anthony’s Magic, Barnes’ Kings continue to be surprise teams; both have big games

By R.L. Bynum

Cole Anthony and Orlando have found the Magic to turn their season around and continue to show it.

Anthony’s 3-pointer with 7:11 left gave Orlando its first lead and he scored 15 points in a 116–110 road victory Wednesday night over the Houston Rockets.

Orlando has won seven of its last eight games since starting the season 5–20 and continues to do it with Anthony coming off the bench.

“I’m a starter in this league, man,” said Anthony, who had three assists. “Whether I’m coming off the bench or I’m starting, I’m gonna play like I’m a starter. I’m gonna play like I’m one of those dudes. So, I just came in tonight and got back to what I do.”

Anthony scored three 3-pointers and added four rebounds and six assists against Houston after combining for 15 points in the previous two games (a 95–92 Sunday victory over Boston and a 126–125 Monday loss to Atlanta).

Orlando trailed by 10 at halftime but Anthony was a big reason that the Magic outscored Houston in bench points 37–27, making big plays in the second half.

“It wasn’t really nothing crazy,” said Anthony, whose 13.9 game score Wednesday was his fourth-best this season. “Just hooping, man.”


Also enjoying sustained success are the Sacramento Kings and Harrison Barnes.

Barnes scored 20 points and pulled down eight rebounds Wednesday as the Kings rebounded from a 125–119 Monday loss to Charlotte by rolling to a 134–120 home win Wednesday over the Los Angeles Lakers. Barnes had 11 points in the loss to the Hornets.

Wednesday’s performance marked Barnes’ eighth game this season with at least 20 points. In addition, he notched three 3-pointers, his fifth game with at least three 3s.

The Kings have victories in back-to-back games against the Lakers for the first time since the 2015–16 season, when Sacramento swept the four games.

Sacramento has won 17 of 26 after losing its first four games and is 17–13, sixth in the Western Conference.

Barnes’ 15.4 game score was his 10th of at least 15 this season.


Coby White scored in double figures for three consecutive games for the first time this season. He netted 10 points in Sunday’s 150–126 loss at Minnesota, 14 in Tuesday’s 113–103 win at Miami and 10 in Wednesday’s 110–108 victory at Atlanta. He scored a combined six 3-pointers in the three games.

Tony Bradley played two scoreless minutes against Minnesota and didn’t play (coach’s decision) in the Bulls’ other two games.


Reggie Bullock has started three consecutive games after coming off the Dallas Mavericks bench the previous 10 games, but still is struggling to be consistent offensively.

He has combined for 16 points and 20 rebounds in the last three games, scoring eight in Saturday’s 100–99 overtime loss to Cleveland and Wednesday’s 104–99 road win over Minnesota and going scoreless in Monday’s 116–106 loss at Minnesota. That was his seventh scoreless game of the season.

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Theo Pinson played a total of 12 minutes in the Saturday and Monday games, scoring one point and pulling down five rebounds.


Walker Kessler has started the last two games for Utah, scoring in double figures in both games, and has started four of the last eight games.

After scoring only four points in Saturday’s 123–97 loss at Milwaukee, he collected 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks in Monday’s 122–99 loss at Cleveland and 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in Tuesday’s 126–111 victory at Detroit.


Day’Ron Sharpe was back in the G League, getting 11 points and 11 rebounds in the Long Island Nets’ 92–88 win Tuesday in Las Vegas over Stockton in Las Vegas. Assuming he’s still with Long Island, you can watch his 2:30 Thursday game against Texas in Las Vegas on NBATV.


On Tuesday, Garrison Brooks missed his second consecutive Westchester Knicks game with a left ankle sprain.


Justin Jackson didn’t play (coach’s decision) in either Boston’s 95–92 Sunday loss to Orlando or the 117–112 Wednesday home loss to Indiana.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard

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

95–92 Sunday win at Boston — 22 minutes, 7 points, 3–7 FG, 1–1 3FG, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers, 3 fouls, plus/minus of 0, 1.1 game score
126–125 Monday loss at Atlanta — 20 minutes, 8 points, 1–5 FG, 0–1 3FG, 6–6 FT, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, -9, 7.7 game score
116–110 Wednesday win at Houston — 23 minutes, 25 points, 5–13 FG, 3–8 3FG, 2–2 FT, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 foul, +15, 13.9 game score
Season statistics — 16 games, 12.9 points, 43.1 FG%, 33.3 3P%, 89.1 FT%, 4.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists
Next games — 7 p.m. Friday vs. San Antonio; 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Los Angeles Lakers


Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward

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

125–119 Monday loss vs. Charlotte — Started; 29 minutes, 11 points, 3–7 FG, 0–2 3FG, 5–8 FT, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover, 1 foul, +2, 9.7 game score
134–120 Wednesday win vs. Los Angeles Lakers — Started; 34 minutes, 20 points, 8–15 FG, 3–7 3FG, 1–3 FT, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, +8, 15.4 game score
Season statistics — 30 games, 13.9 points, 48.7 FG%, 30.9 3FG%, 81.2 FT%, 5.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Next games 10 p.m. Friday vs. Washington; 10 p.m. Tuesday vs. Denver


Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center

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

150–126 Sunday loss at Minnesota — 2 minutes, 0 points, 0–1 FG, 0–1 3FG, -6, -0.7 game score
113–103 Tuesday win at Miami and 110–108 Wednesday win at Atlanta Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 9 games, 25 minutes, 12 points, 4–7 FG, 1–2 3FG, 2–2 FT, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Next games 7:30 Friday at New York; 8 p.m. Monday vs. Houston


Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks small forward

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

100–99 OT Saturday loss at Cleveland — Started; 46 minutes, 8 points, 3–6 FG, 2–4 3FG, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 4 fouls, +5, 6.2 game score
116–106 Monday loss at Minnesota — Started; 33 minutes, 0 points, 0–3 FG, 0–3 3FG, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 fouls, -16, 1.2 game score
104–99 Wednesday win at Minnesota — Started; 8 points, 3–8 FG, 2–7 3FG, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 foul, +5, 5.1 game score
Season statistics 31 games, 5.1 points, 34.0 FG%, 31.5 3P%, 71.4 FT%, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist
Next games 8 p.m. Friday at Houston; 2:30 Sunday vs. Los Angeles Lakers, ABC, ESPN


Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward

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

95–92 Sunday loss vs. Orlando and 117–112 Wednesday loss vs. Indiana Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 12 games, 62 minutes, 6 points, 2–13 FG, 2–11 3FG, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals
Next games — 7:30 Friday vs. Minnesota; 5 p.m. Sunday vs. Milwaukee, ABC, ESPN


Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz center

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

123–97 Saturday loss at Milwaukee — 14 minutes, 4 points, 2–2 FG, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, -9, 6.1 game score
122–99 Monday loss at Cleveland — Started; 25 minutes, 11 points, 5–5 FG, 1–4 FT, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 5 fouls, -9, 11.0 game score
126–111 Tuesday win at Detroit — Started; 27 minutes, 10 points, 5–7 FG, 0–2 FT, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, +7, 10.5 game score
Season statistics 31 games, 6.6 points, 75.4 FG%, 53.8 FT%, 6.1 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist, 1.9 blocks
Next games 9 p.m. Thursday vs. Washington, NBATV; 8 p.m. Monday at San Antonio


Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard

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

100–99 OT Saturday loss at Cleveland 9 minutes, 0 points, 0–4 FG, 0–1 3FG, 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers, -7, -3.9 game score
116–106 Monday loss at Minnesota — 3 minutes, 1 point, 1–2 FT, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 foul, +6, 1.9 game score
104–99 Wednesday win at Minnesota — Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics —
12 games, 48 minutes, 7 points, 1–10 FG, 0–6 3FG, 5–6 FT, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Next games 8 p.m. Friday at Houston; 2:30 Sunday vs. Los Angeles Lakers, ABC, ESPN


Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center

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

92–88 Tuesday loss with Long Island vs. Stockton in G League in Las Vegas — Started; 29 minutes, 11 points, 5–10 FG, 1–2 3FG, 0–1 FT, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 fouls, 3 turnovers, 1 block, -7
Season NBA statistics 17 games, 152 minutes, 61 points, 23–45 FG, 3–4 3FG, 12–17 FT, 57 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals, 18 blocks
Season G League statistics 5 games, 18.8 points, 63.5 FG%, 25.0 3FG%, 54.8 FT%, 13.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 blocks
Next game(s) 2:30 Thursday for Long Island vs. Texas in G League in Las Vegas, NBATV; 7:30 Friday vs. Milwaukee, NBATV


Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard

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

150–126 Sunday loss at Minnesota — 19 minutes, 10 points, 3–5 FG, 2–3 3FG, 2–3 FT, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 fouls, -5, 8.1 game score
113–103 Tuesday win at Miami — 24 minutes, 14 points, 3–10 FG, 3–8 3FG, 5–5 FT, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, +3, 8.5 game score
110–108 Wednesday win at Atlanta — 30 minutes, 10 points, 2–8 FG, 1–5 3FG, 5–6 FT, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls, -9, 7.7 game score
Season statistics 23 games, 8.0 points, 39.8 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 2.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Next games 7:30 Friday at New York; 8 p.m. Monday vs. Houston


In the G League

Garrison Brooks, Westchester Knicks center

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

101–90 Tuesday loss in Las Vegas vs. Memphis — Didn’t play (left ankle sprain)
Season statistics 15 games, 13.4 points, 61.1 FG%, 0–9 3P, 53.6 FT%, 12.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.7 of a block
Next games 10:30 Thursday vs. Mexico City Capitanes in Las Vegas; 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lakeland


Out while recovering from surgery

— Phoenix forward Cameron Johnson is expected to return this month or 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.

Out until mid-January

— Portland forward Nassir Little suffered a mild femoral impaction fracture to his right hip on Nov. 29. His season statistics: 21 games, 5.5 points, 47.3 FG%, 37.2 3P%, 66.7 FT%, 2.4 rebounds, 0.9 of an assist


Get an explanation of the game score metric here.

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