Tar Heels in NBA: Bullock scores season-high with career-high 8 3s, Pinson has best game of season for Mavs; Kessler seventh double-double

By R.L. Bynum

Reggie Bullock has traditionally played better in his NBA career after the new year, and that trend kicked in Saturday night when he and teammate Theo Pinson both had their best games of the season.

Bullock hit a career-high eight 3-pointers (on 10 shots) and scored a season-high 24 points for a season-high 21.3 game score in the Dallas Mavericks’ 136–119 loss at Portland on Saturday night in his best game in more than four years. Pinson collected 11 points, three 3-pointers, three assists and a 10.1 game score, all season-highs.

“We always trust in him,” Luka Dončić, who scored a season-low 15 points, said of Bullock. “He’s a great shooter. We know he’s going to come around. Today he just showed that. He was knocking them in almost every shot. We believe in him.”

Bullock scored more points in that game than in the previous five games combined, with his previous season highs of 14 points and a 12.4 game score coming on Christmas Day in a 124–115 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bullock said that he’d had conversations recently about his play with Dallas coach Jason Kidd.

“I felt like I was in a rhythm,” said Bullock, whose Mavericks play at Portland again on Sunday night. “Just being able to talk to the coach and getting his advice and getting his confidence in me. Just being able to relax and shoot the ball. I’ve just got to be aggressive with my shot, and it was going in for me tonight, and it felt pretty good.”

Bullock’s previous-best 3-pointers total in a game was seven three times: against Utah last season on March 27, against Miami for New York on Feb. 7 and against Minnesota for Detroit on Dec. 19, 2018.

“I know how much Coach believes in me as a player. He was just telling me to relax, play ball,” Bullock said. “He believes in me, the team believes in me, so it’s all about me going out there and handling business.”

It was Bullock’s best game score since putting up a 25.3 on Dec. 19, 2018, for Detroit in a 33-point, seven-3-pointer game in a 129–123 win at Minnesota.

His production wasn’t enough Saturday, thanks to 32 points from Portland’s Damian Lillard.

“He’s a tough player,” Bullock said. “He gets a lot of calls. He’s going to bring two [defenders] to the ball. It’s all about the next man being there and the next man after that — multiple efforts. He’s a great player.”

Pinson came into the game with 27 total points over 21 games with five 3-pointers and five assists. It was the ninth double-figure-scoring game of Pinson’s career and first since scoring 16 against San Antonio last season on April 10.

It was the third double-digit game score of Pinson’s career: He put up a 13.8 in that 130–120 win against the Spurs last season and a 15.7 for Brooklyn on Jan. 25, 2019, when he scored a career-high 19-points in a 109–99 victory over the New York Knicks.


Utah’s Walker Kessler started for the third consecutive game and produced the seventh double-double of his rookie NBA season in a 118–117 home loss to Philadelphia. Kessler collected 15 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.

Kessler’s tip-in with 33 seconds left gave Utah its first lead of the game, but Joel Embiid’s jumper with 5.7 seconds left won it for the Sixers.


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Justin Jackson missed his only two shots in four minutes of action during Boston’s 122–106 win over Charlotte.


In the G League, Day’Ron Sharpe had yet another double-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in the Long Island Nets’ 96–85 home win over Grand Rapids.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard

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

Off Saturday
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)

Off Saturday
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)

Off Saturday
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)

136–119 Saturday loss at Portland  Started; 29 minutes, 24 points (season-high), 8–10 FG (season-high), 8–10 3FG (season-high), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 3 fouls, -8, 21.3 game score (season-high)
Season statistics 42 games, 5.7 points, 36.0 FG%, 33.9 3P%, 65.4 FT%, 3.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Next games 9 p.m. Sunday at Portland; 7:30 Wednesday vs. Atlanta, ESPN


Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward

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

122–106 Saturday win at Charlotte 4 minutes, 0 points, 0–2 FG, 0–1 3FG, 1 foul, -2, -1.1 game score
Season statistics — 19 games, 83 minutes, 15 points, 5–22 FG, 4–16 3FG, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 blocks, 4 steals
Next games — 1 p.m. Monday at Charlotte, NBATV; 7:30 Thursday vs. Golden State, TNT


Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz center

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

118–117 Saturday loss vs. Philadelphia Started; 15 points, 7–7 FG, 1–1 FT, 12 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 1 foul, -5, 18.7 game score
Season statistics 43 games, 7.2 points, 71.9 FG%, 55.8 FT%, 6.8 rebounds, 0.6 of an assist, 2.0 blocks
Next games 4 p.m. Monday at Minnesota; 9 p.m. Wednesday vs. Los Angeles Clippers


Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard

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


136–119 Saturday loss at Portland  13 minutes, 11 points (season-high), 4–7 FG (season-high), 3–6 3FG (season-high), 1 rebound, 3 assists (season-high), -4, 10.1 game score (season-high)
Season statistics — 22 games, 106 minutes, 38 points, 11–31 FG, 8–22 3FG, 8–9 FT, 24 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals
Next games 9 p.m. Sunday at Portland; 7:30 Wednesday vs. Atlanta, ESPN


Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center

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

96–85 Saturday win for Long Island vs. Grand Rapids Started; 29 minutes, 10 points, 5–11 FG, 0–1 3FG, 0–1 FT, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 fouls, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 2 blocks, -2
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) — 8 games, 14.8 points, 55.6 FG%, 22.2 3FG%, 64.3 FT%, 12.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.0 blocks
Next game(s) 6 p.m. Sunday for Brooklyn vs. Oklahoma City and/or 1 p.m. Monday for Long Island vs. Grand Rapids


Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard

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

Off Saturday
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)

Off Saturday
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.

Photos via @dallasmavs

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