23 Days of Toronto Raptors History: Vince Carter Scores 50 Points

Toronto Raptors - Vince Carter (Photo credit should read J.P. MOCZULSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Vince Carter (Photo credit should read J.P. MOCZULSKI/AFP/Getty Images) /

We continue our “23 days of Toronto Raptor history” with the night Vince Carter scored 50 points in an epic playoff matchup against the Philadelphia 76’ers.

It was an individual performance like no other in Toronto Raptors history. Vince Carter dropped 50 in a playoff game at the height of Vinsanity.

Since then, the total has been matched by an unlikely source, and even surpassed, by a guy you assumed could probably do it.

Who knows, it might even happen again one day soon (I’m calling a Kawhi 50 point game in a Raptor uniform here first). But in the spring of 2001, no one had done it before. No Raptor had ever dropped 50 in one game. Not on this level. Not on this stage.

This was the best game played by a Toronto Raptor. Ever.

The First Two Games

The series, to that point, had been an epic playoff duel.  The first game was a low scoring, evenly matched game. Allen Iverson, the league’s next superstar, dominated, scoring 36. But Vince matched him, scoring 35, giving the Raptors a one-game lead.

The Raptors didn’t have an answer for Iverson in the next game. A boisterous Philly crowd chanted MVP as The Answer erupted for 54 in a Hall of Fame worthy performance. Allen’s performance throughout the series is one of the best stretches of his career.

Game 3

By the time game 3 came around, Toronto fans were rabid. They were witnessing greatness. Two great teams. Two generational players. It was everything you could ask for.

If you were lucky enough to be in the arena that night, you walked out of there witness to Toronto sports history.

Right from the tip, you sensed this game might be different. By the end of the half, you had little doubt you were watching one of the best games of your life.

At halftime, Vince Carter was one point away from matching the previous game’s point total of 34.

The crowd was as loud and alive as it has ever been. More than 20,000 fans, standing. Never taking their eyes off the game. The energy was palpable. It was electric.

"“Once I hit three or four shots, the rim seemed like it was getting bigger,” – Vince Carter"

By the time everything was said and done, Vince had played 45 minutes, shooting 65-percent from the field and 69-percent from three. He made nine three-pointers. Nine. At the time, an NBA playoff record. And when the final whistle went, he had scored 50 points.

Those are crooked numbers.

The Raptors were victorious, taking a 2-1 series lead. However, the Sixers would win the next two, forcing the Raptors have to win at home for Game 6. They did.

That took the series to seven and brought us one of the most electric playoff games in recent memory. It was a game filled with drama; one that involved a graduation, a private plane and a missed game-time routine.

And, of course, it ended with a buzzer beater that went long and a victory for the 76’ers, who would eventually move on to face the Lakers in the Finals.

It was also the beginning of the end for Vince Carter.

The next few years would be filled with early playoff exits due to injuries. Vince would eventually leave town, in a fog of disappointment.


But if you were watching on May 11, 2001, you were lucky enough to witness greatness. Something you’ll never forget it.

And if his greatness needed validation, this game did it. If you wondered if he could rise to the intensity of a tight playoff series against a legitimate MVP, you wondered no more.

This was Vinsanity. And it was nothing short of amazing.

Next. Creating the Raptors All-Time Roster. dark

Checkout day 11 of Raptors history when we remember Toronto’s heartbreaking loss to the Sixers.