Tar Heels in NBA: Johnson has 6 3-pointers, scores 24 in 18 minutes; Green plans season debut Feb. 1

By R.L. Bynum

The Phoenix Suns limited Cameron Johnson’s minutes in his third game back after recovering from knee surgery, but he made the most of his time on the court.

Johnson scored 24 points and six 3-pointers in only 18 minutes as the Suns rolled past the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night 128–97 for their fourth consecutive victory.

Phoenix had lost three in a row and 12 of its last 13 before Johnson returned Thursday, and the Suns haven’t lost since then. He sat out Saturday’s win for “injury management” and went without a 3-pointer on four attempts and scored eight in Sunday’s victory over Memphis.

But he had it all going on Tuesday night, when he led Charlotte 15–14 by himself after one quarter.

“It’s the NBA — you weather storms,” Johnson said. “Things don’t always go your way. We’ve found that out in the past couple of years. That doesn’t mean you tuck tail, run, sell the farm, or hide away forever. We have a lot of confidence in our group — top to bottom.”

Johnson started and scored 16 points in the first seven minutes, making all six shots, including four 3-point tries. He finished 9 of 11 from the floor and made six of seven 3-point attempts. His 22.5 game score is only topped this season-high 26.7 in his season-high 29-point game on Nov. 1 against Minnesota, the game before suffering his knee injury.

“To see that ball come off his hands as easy as it did tonight was pretty cool,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “When he’s making shots like that, it opens it up for everyone else.”

Johnson scored four first-quarter 3-pointers one day after fellow UNC alum Harrison Barnes notched five first-quarter 3-pointers in the Sacramento Kings’ 133–100 win over Memphis.


Memphis guard Danny Green said on his “Inside the Green Room” podcast Wednesday morning that he plans to make his season debut on Feb. 1 against Portland.

Green tore the anterior and lateral cruciate ligaments in his left knee playing for Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals in May, and the 76ers traded him to Memphis in June.

The Grizzlies are 31–16 and in second place in the Western Conference.


In the G League, Garrison Brooks produced his third consecutive double-double and 18th of the season. He collected 21 points and 12 rebounds and tied his season-high with seven assists to lead the Westchester Knicks to a 126–99 home win Tuesday over Iowa.


Justin Jackson played a season-high 14 minutes in the Boston Celtics’ 98–95 Tuesday loss at Miami, scoring three points on a 3-pointer and pulling down five rebounds.

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Boston was playing without starters Jaylen Brown (right adductor injury), Al Horford (lower-back stiffness) and Marcus Smart (right ankle injury), as well as Malcolm Brogdon, who missed the game for personal reasons.


Coby White had eight points, three rebounds and three assists in Chicago’s 116–110 loss Tuesday at Indiana. Tony Bradley didn’t play (coach’s decision) for the second consecutive night.


One night after going scoreless, Reggie Bullock went 1 of 5 from the floor and had three points and three assists in Dallas’ 127–126 loss at Washington. Theo Pinson didn’t play (coach’s decision).

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic guard

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

Off Tuesday
Season statistics — 29 games, 11.8 points, 42.6 FG%, 30.9 3P%, 89.5 FT%, 4.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists
Next games — 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Indiana; 8 p.m. Friday at Miami


Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings forward

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

Off Tuesday
Season statistics — 46 games, 15.6 points, 48.8 FG%, 39.0 3FG%, 82.5 FT%, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists
Next games 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Toronto; 8 p.m. Saturday at Minnesota


Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls center

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

116–110 Tuesday loss at Indiana Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 10 games, 25 minutes, 12 points, 4–8 FG, 2–4 3FG, 2–2 FT, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Next games 7:30 Thursday at Charlotte, Bally Sports SE; 7 p.m. Saturday at Orlando


Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks small forward

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

127–126 Tuesday loss vs. Washington Didn’t start; 24 minutes, 3 points, 1–5 FG, 1–4 3FG, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 fouls, -14, 2.6 game score
Season statistics 47 games, 6.1 points, 37.6 FG%, 35.35 3P%, 65.4 FT%, 3.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Next games 10 p.m. Thursday at Phoenix, TNT; 9 p.m. Saturday at Utah


Justin Jackson, Boston Celtics forward

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

9895 Tuesday loss at Miami 14 minutes, 3 points, 1–3 FG, 1–3 3FG, 5 rebounds, 1 foul, -5, 2.4 game score
Season statistics — 21 games, 99 minutes, 18 points, 6–25 FG, 5–19 3FG, 14 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 blocks, 4 steals
Next games — 7:30 Thursday vs. New York, TNT; 8:30 Saturday vs. Los Angeles Lakers, ABC


Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns forward

Age 27 | 6–8, 210| fourth NBA season | UNC 2017–19 (2 seasons)

128–97 Tuesday win vs. Charlotte Started; 18 minutes, 24 points, 9–11 FG, 6–7 3FG, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 fouls, +2, 22.5 game score
Season statistics — 11 games, 14.1 points, 46.9 FG%, 44.1 3P%, 82.6 FT%, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists
Next games — 10 p.m. Thursday vs. Dallas, TNT; 8 p.m. Saturday at San Antonio


Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz center

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

Off Tuesday
Season statistics 47 games, 7.6 points, 71.0 FG%, 55.1 FT%, 7.6 rebounds, 0.7 of an assist, 1.9 blocks
Next games 10 p.m. Wednesday at Portland; 9 p.m. Saturday vs. Dallas


Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers forward

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


Off Tuesday
Season statistics — 26 games, 6.1 points, 48.8 FG%, 43.1 3P%, 61.5 FT%, 2.3 rebounds, 0.8 of an assist
Next games 10 p.m. Wednesday vs. Utah; 10 p.m. Saturday vs. Toronto


Theo Pinson, Dallas Mavericks guard

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


127–126 Tuesday loss vs. Washington Didn’t play (coach’s decision)
Season statistics — 24 games, 131 minutes, 41 points, 12–34 FG, 9–24 3FG, 8–9 FT, 27 rebounds, 13 assists, 2 steals
Next games 10 p.m. Thursday at Phoenix, TNT; 9 p.m. Saturday at Utah


Day’Ron Sharpe, Brooklyn Nets center

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


Off Tuesday
Season NBA statistics — 23 games, 189 minutes, 78 points, 30–57 FG, 4–5 3FG, 14–21 FT, 70 rebounds, 15 assists, 3 steals, 13 blocks
G League statistics 14 games, 16.3 points, 64.4 2PFG%, 21.1 3FG%, 57.1 FT%, 12.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.6 blocks, 12 double-doubles
Next games 7:30 Wednesday at Philadelphia, ESPN; 7:30 Thursday vs. Detroit


Coby White, Chicago Bulls guard

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

116–110 Tuesday loss at Indiana 23 minutes, 8 points, 3–11 FG, 2–7 3FG, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 3 fouls, -8, 5.3 game score
Season statistics 39 games, 8.4 points, 42.4 FG%, 36.3 3P%, 2.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Next games 7:30 Thursday at Charlotte, Bally Sports SE; 7 p.m. Saturday at Orlando


In the G League

Garrison Brooks, Westchester Knicks center

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

126–99 Tuesday win vs. Iowa Started; 31 minutes, 21 points, 10–15 FG, 1–1 FT, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 fouls, 1 steal, 4 turnovers, 2 blocks, +23
Season statistics 24 games, 14.0 points, 52.8 PFG%, 0–18 3P, 52.8 FT%, 12.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.7 of a block, 18 double-doubles
Next games 7 p.m. Friday vs. Grand Rapids; 1 p.m. Sunday vs. Grand Rapids


Out while recovering from surgery

— 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 Feb. 1 against Portland.


Get an explanation of the game score metric here.

Photo via @Suns

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