Tar Heels in NBA: Bullock’s best game of season comes in Mavs’ Christmas rout of Lakers; Green’s recovery progressing

By R.L. Bynum

Reggie Bullock played through a neck strain on Sunday, but that didn’t faze him before a national television audience in his best game of the season. Meanwhile, there was news about Danny Green’s recovery from offseason knee surgery.

Starting his fifth consecutive game, Bullock scored a season-high 14 points, tying his season-high with four 3-pointers and dishing out a season-high four assists as the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 124–115 Christmas Day home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bullock, who left Friday’s win at Houston in the third quarter with a neck strain, put up a season-high game score of 12.4, his highest since a 13.6 last season at Milwaukee on April 3.

Dallas led by 51 points in the third quarter, the largest lead in a Christmas game in NBA history.

It was the best point output for Bullock since scoring 16 points in that April game against the Bucks. In addition, Bullock scored at least three 3-pointers for the sixth time this season, matching the four 3-pointers he notched in a 13-point game on Nov. 15 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Bullock’s best previous assist game this season was three assists, a total he reached three times.

Bullock has traditionally played better after December and has struggled so far offensively this season. Before scoring 14 Sunday, Bullock had combined for 11 in the previous three games.

Theo Pinson played seven scoreless minutes, missing two 3-point attempts and pulling down three rebounds. He has played nearly 21 minutes in the last two games after playing only 48 in his first 12 appearances this season.


The Memphis Grizzlies’ Danny Green says that his long recovery from surgery to repair the ACL and LCL in his left knee is progressing. In an ESPN interview during its broadcast of the Grizzlies’ game Friday at Phoenix, he said he’s anticipating a return before the February All-Star break.

 “The knee is going smoothly. We’re in a good pace, and hopefully you’ll see me before the break. That’s the target right now,” Green said in the interview.

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While playing for Philadelphia, Green suffered the injury, which some feared would be career-ending for the 35-year-old veteran, during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Sixers traded Green to Memphis in the offseason for De’Anthony Melton.

Green will return eight months after the injury if he hits his target date.

“I’m liking what I’m seeing on the court,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins told the Commercial Appeal. “He’s getting challenged every single day medically, physically, basketball-wise,” Jenkins said. “So, hopefully, sooner rather than later, he’s back. Timelines will be timelines, but he’s progressing really well.”

Green brings veteran leadership, having won three NBA titles in addition to his 2009 national title at UNC. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Green’s name may come up in trade talks because of that quality.


Justin Jackson didn’t play (coach’s decision) in the Boston Celtics’ 139–118 home win Sunday over Milwaukee.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard

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

Off Sunday
Season statistics — 17 games, 13.5 points, 45.2 FG%, 37.3 3P%, 89.8 FT%, 4.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists
Next games — 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Los Angeles Lakers; 7 p.m. Wednesday at Detroit


Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward

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

Off Sunday
Season statistics — 31 games, 13.9 points, 47.8 FG%, 30.8 3FG%, 80.9 FT%, 5.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists
Next games 10 p.m. Tuesday vs. Denver; 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Denver, NBATV


Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center

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

Off Sunday
Season statistics — 9 games, 25 minutes, 12 points, 4–7 FG, 2–4 3FG, 2–2 FT, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Next games 8 p.m. Monday vs. Houston; 8 p.m. Wednesday vs. Milwaukee


Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks small forward

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

124–115 Sunday win vs. Los Angeles Lakers — Started; 35 minutes, 14 points (season-high), 5–8 FG, 4–7 3FG (season-high), 3 rebounds, 4 assists (tied for season-high), 1 block, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, -8, 12.4 game score (season-high)
Season statistics 33 games, 5.3 points, 35.2 FG%, 32.6 3P%, 71.4 FT%, 3.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Next games 8:30 Tuesday vs. New York, NBATV; 8:30 Thursday vs. Houston


Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward

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

139–118 Sunday win vs. Milwaukee — Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 13 games, 63 minutes, 6 points, 2–13 FG, 2–11 3FG, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals
Next games — 7:30 Tuesday vs. Houston; 7:30 Thursday vs. Los Angeles Clippers, NBATV


Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz center

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

Off Sunday
Season statistics 32 games, 6.8 points, 75.2 FG%, 55.6 FT%, 6.3 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist, 1.9 blocks
Next games 8 p.m. Monday at San Antonio; 10 p.m. Wednesday at Golden State


Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard

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

124–115 Sunday win vs. Los Angeles Lakers — 7 minutes, 0 points, 0–2 FG, 0–2 3FG, 3 rebounds, -1, -0.5 game score
Season statistics — 14 games, 69 minutes, 13 points, 3–15 FG, 2–10 3FG, 5–6 FT, 20 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals
Next games 8:30 Tuesday vs. New York, NBATV; 8:30 Thursday vs. Houston


Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center

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

Off Sunday
Season statistics — 18 games, 154 minutes, 63 points, 24–46 FG, 3–4 3FG, 12–17 FT, 58 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals, 10 blocks
Season G League statistics 6 games, 18.3 points, 64.0 FG%, 20.0 3FG%, 50.0 FT%, 12.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.2 blocks
Next game(s) 7 p.m. Tuesday for Long Island vs. Greensboro, ESPN+; 7 p.m. Thursday for Long Island vs. Greensboro, ESPN+;


Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard

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

Off Sunday
Season statistics 24 games, 8.0 points, 40.4 FG%, 33.6 3P%, 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists
Next games 8 p.m. Monday vs. Houston; 8 p.m. Wednesday vs. Milwaukee


In the G League

Garrison Brooks, Westchester Knicks center

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

Off Sunday
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 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lakeland, ESPN+; 7 p.m. Thursday at Lakeland, ESPN+


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 had offseason surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee suffered in May, and is targeting to make his season debut before the All-Star break in February.

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.

Photo via @dallasmavs

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