Tar Heels in NBA: White has best game of season amid trade rumors; Barnes hits 27 for surging Kings; Kessler blocks 7 shots

By R.L. Bynum

Coby White had his best game of the season amid trade rumors, and Harrison Barnes kept putting up big numbers for the surging Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

White produced season-highs of 19 points, four 3-pointers, seven field goals, six rebounds and a 16.3 game score to go with a team-high six assists in a season-high 33 minutes. He provided energy off the bench, but it wasn’t enough for Chicago to avoid its third consecutive loss as the Bulls dropped a 124­–110 home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

That effort came after scoring 13 points and three 3-pointers in Wednesday’s 100–97 loss at Washington. It’s only the second time White has scored in double figures in consecutive games after doing it in three games in a row, with 10 on Dec. 18 at Minnesota, 14 on Dec. 20 at Miami and 10 Dec. 21 at Atlanta.

On the “HoopsHype Podcast,” K.C. Johnson, a Bulls insider for NBC Sports Chicago, said that White remains on the trading block ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline, describing him as “available” and already in a lot of trade talks. Johnson said the Bulls had been offered direct packages for White.

“He’d be one of those pieces where you try and get him in a package,” Johnson said on the podcast. “I think, individually, his trade return is not that significant, but in the right package with that lottery-protected Portland pick? If they’re buyers, I think he’d be in whatever package they send out.”

White will likely be a restricted free agent in the offseason, and his team would be able to extend a qualifying offer.

Zach Lavine and Ayo Dosunmu have been the consistent backcourt starters for the Bulls. As he goes through lingering left knee rehabilitation, Lonzo Ball hasn’t played in a year.

It was the fourth game this season with four 3-pointers for White, who has 15 career games with five or more. The 19 points were his most since scoring 23 at New Orleans last season on March 24.

Gamblers who bet the over were happy with White, whose 3-pointer with 13 seconds left pushed the teams’ combined point total past the over of 233.

Tony Bradley hasn’t played for Chicago since Dec. 18. He missed several games for personal reasons, a few recent games under the league’s health and safety protocols and was listed as missing the Thunder game because he was going through competition reconditioning.


Barnes scored 27 points and eight 3-pointers with seven rebounds and three assists as Sacramento rolled to a 139–114 home win over Houston for the Kings’ third consecutive win.

That followed up Barnes’ 16 points and three 3-pointers in Wednesday’s 135–114 home win over the Rockets to push Sacramento to 23–18, fourth in the Western Conference. The Kings are five games over .500 for the first time since April 2006, when they last made the playoffs.

During Sacramento’s three-game win streak, Barnes is averaging 24.3 points and 4.6 3-pointers while shooting 63.9% from the floor.

“For us, now it’s just a matter of continuing to build off the foundation that’s been laid,” Barnes said.

Sacramento showed plenty of fight. With 11:09 left, Malik Monk, Chimezie Metu of Sacramento and Tari Eason and Garrison Matthews of Houston were all ejected. Monk and Matthews went face-to-face after a foul on Monk during a fast break.

“I had no issue with it,” Barnes said. “At the end of the day, that’s the fight that we need as a team, that’s the fight that we’ll need this season and that’s the fight we’ll need for the playoffs.”


Walker Kessler collected 13 points, nine rebounds and a career-high seven blocks in Utah’s 112–108 home win Friday over Orlando. He shoots 55.3% from the free throw line, but his two free throws with 11.8 seconds left sealed the win.

“I said a little quiet prayer to myself, and it happened. I was relieved,” said Kessler, who had six points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday’s 116–113 win over Cleveland.

Kessler blocked eight shots for Carolina in a 101–59 ACC Tournament win over Notre Dame on March 10, 2021.


The Magic’s loss to Utah was the fourth game of a five-game West Coast road trip. Cole Anthony had five points and four assists in that game after he had six points, three rebounds and two assists in Tuesday’s 109–106 win over Portland.


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In an interview with Duane Rankin of azcentral.com, Phoenix’s Cameron Johnson said there is no firm target date for his return after he suffered a torn right meniscus on Nov. 8. He added that he could return after the Suns’ current road trip.

“Taking it one day at a time right now, but I’m looking forward to getting back soon. Very soon,” Johnson said.

Phoenix concludes its road trip at Memphis on Monday night and returns home at 10 p.m. Thursday against Brooklyn (TNT).

The Suns could use his help. They’ve lost two in a row and have fallen to 21–23, 10th in the Western Conference. Phoenix was 6–3 when Johnson got hurt.


Portland announced Thursday that Nassir Little had returned to “on-court contact activities,” but that it isn’t clear when he’ll play. Little suffered a mild femoral impaction fracture to his right hip on Nov. 29.


The Dallas Mavericks split two games in Los Angeles, with Reggie Bullock scoring six points in Tuesday’s 113–101 loss to the Clippers. He had seven points, nine rebounds and two steals in Thursday’s 119–116 double-overtime loss to the Lakers. Theo Pinson played one minute against the Clippers.


The Boston Celtics won Wednesday at home against New Orleans 125–114 and 109–98 Thursday at Brooklyn. Justin Jackson only played against the Pelicans, missing his only shot and getting a rebound in three minutes.


Day’Ron Sharpe didn’t play (coach’s decision) in the Nets’ loss to Boston after another G League double-double on Wednesday. Sharpe collected 24 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in the Long Island Nets’ 121–118 victory over Windy City.


Garrison Brooks had 14 points in the Westchester Knicks’ 124–93 Tuesday home win over Greensboro before putting up a double-double on Wednesday. In Westchester’s 129–117 loss at Lakeland, he had 16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard

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

109–106 Tuesday win at Portland — 25 minutes, 6 points, 2–6 FG, 2–3 FT, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 foul, -15, 4.5 game score
112–108 Friday loss at Utah — 19 minutes, 5 points, 1–4 FG, 1–1 3FG, 2–2 FT, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls, plus/minus of 0, 2.9 game score
Season statistics — 25 games, 11.6 points, 41.3 FG%, 31.1 3P%, 89.9 FT%, 4.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists
Next games — 8 p.m. Sunday at Denver; 7 p.m. Friday vs. New Orleans


Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward

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

135115 Wednesday win vs. Houston — Started; 33 minutes, 16 points, 5–1- FG, 3–7 3FG, 3–3 FT, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 foul, +17, 12.2 game score
139–114 Friday win vs. Houston — Started; 36 minutes, 27 points, 8–14 FG, 5–8 3FG, 6–6 FT, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 1 foul, +28, 25.8 game score
Season statistics — 41games, 14.9 points, 48.1 FG%, 35.6 3FG%, 82.3 FT%, 5.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists
Next games 7 p.m. Sunday at San Antonio; 10:30 Wednesday at Los Angeles Lakers


Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center

Age 25 | 6–10, 248 | sixth NBA season | UNC 2016–17 (1 season)

100–97 Wednesday loss at Washington — Missed game under league’s health and safety protocols; hasn’t been active for six consecutive games
124–110 Friday loss vs. Oklahoma City — Missed game while going through return to competition reconditioning
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 3:30 Sunday vs. Golden State; 3 p.m. Thursday at Detroit


Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks small forward

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

113–101 Tuesday loss at Los Angeles Clippers  Didn’t start; 24 minutes, 6 points, 2–8 FG, 2–7 3FG, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, -16, -0.2 game score
119–116 2-OT Thursday win at Los Angeles Lakers  Started; 47 minutes, 7 points, 2–8 FG, 2–8 3FG, 1–2 FT, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 5 fouls, -2, 5.2 game score
Season statistics 41 games, 5.3 points, 34.0 FG%, 31.3 3P%, 65.4 FT%, 3.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Next games 10 p.m. Saturday at Portland; 9 p.m. Sunday at Portland


Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward

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

125–114 Wednesday win vs. New Orleans — 3 minutes, 0 points, 0–1 FG, 0–1 3FG, 1 rebound, -8, 0.0 game score
109–98 Thursday win at Brooklyn  Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 18 games, 79 minutes, 15 points, 5–21 FG, 4–15 3FG, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 blocks, 4 steals
Next games — 7 p.m. Saturday at Charlotte, BSSE; 1 p.m. Monday at Charlotte, NBATV


Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz center

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

116–113 Tuesday win vs. Cleveland —  Started; 30 minutes, 6 points, 3–9 FG, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, +6, 6.1 game score
112–108 Friday win vs. Orlando — Started; 27 minutes, 13 points, 5–6 FG, 3–6 FT, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 7 blocks, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, -1, 18.8 game score
Season statistics 42 games, 7.0 points, 70.8 FG%, 55.3 FT%, 6.7 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist, 2.0 blocks
Next games 9 p.m. Saturday vs. Philadelphia; 4 p.m. Monday at Minnesota


Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard

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


113–101 Tuesday loss at Los Angeles Clippers 1 minute, plus/minus of 0, 0.0 game score
119–116 2-OT Thursday win at Los Angeles Lakers  Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 21 games, 93 minutes, 27 points, 7–23 FG, 5–16 3FG, 8–9 FT, 24 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals
Next games 10 p.m. Saturday at Portland; 9 p.m. Sunday at Portland


Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center

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

121–118 Wednesday loss for Long Island vs. Windy City — Started; 33 minutes, 24 points, 11–16 FG, 1–1 FT, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 fouls, 5 turnovers, 4 blocks, -3
109–98 Thursday loss for Brooklyn vs. Boston — Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season NBA statistics — 20 games, 178 minutes, 77 points, 30–57 FG, 4–5 3FG, 13–19 FT, 64 rebounds, 13 assists, 3 steals, 10 blocks
G League statistics (showcase; Nov. 4–Dec. 22) 6 games, 18.3 points, 64.0 FG%, 20.0 3FG%, 60.0 FT%, 12.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.2 blocks
G League statistics (regular season; since Dec. 27) — 7 games, 15.4 points, 57.0 FG%, 25.0 3FG%, 69.2 FT%, 12.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.0 blocks
Next game(s) 7 p.m. Saturday for Long Island vs. Grand Rapids and/or 6 p.m. Sunday for Brooklyn vs. Oklahoma City


Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard

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

100–97 Wednesday loss at Washington — 29 minutes, 13 points, 5–11 FG, 3–5 3FG, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, +6, 9.4 game score
124–110 Friday loss vs. Oklahoma City — 33 minutes, 19 points (ties season-high), 7–15 FG (ties season-high for FGs), 1–2 3FG, 6 rebounds (season-high), 6 assists, 1 turnover, +4, 16.3 game score (season-high)
Season statistics
35 games, 8.2 points, 41.5 FG%, 35.8 3P%, 2.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Next games 3:30 Sunday vs. Golden State; 3 p.m. Thursday at Detroit


In the G League

Garrison Brooks, Westchester Knicks center

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

125–93 Tuesday win vs. Greensboro  Started; 23 minutes, 14 points, 5–9 FG, 0–1 3FG, 3–3 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 fouls, 5 turnovers, 1 block, +1
129–117 Wednesday loss at Lakeland  Started; 32 minutes, 16 points, 7–10 FG, 1–1 FT, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 foul, 3 turnovers, 1 block, -7
Season statistics (showcase; Nov. 4–Dec. 22) 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
Season statistics (regular season; since Dec. 27) — 5 games, 12.0 points, 50.0 FG%, 0–3 3P, 43.8 FT%, 10.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.8 of a block
Next games 12:30 Wednesday at Wisconsin; 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22 vs. Iowa


Out while recovering from surgery

— Phoenix forward Cameron Johnson is expected to return soon after having right knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus 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.
— Portland forward Nassir Little suffered a mild femoral impaction fracture to his right hip on Nov. 29 and is nearing his return. 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 @chicagobulls

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