Ex-Raptors PG pulls off most unlikely 50-point game ever

Malachi Flynn, Detroit Pistons
Malachi Flynn, Detroit Pistons / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Toronto Raptors have a lot of former players spread around the NBA right now.

There are quite a few stars, from Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan to Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. There are some proven veteran starters such as Jonas Valanciunas, OG Anunoby or Kyle Lowry. Norman Powell is a high-octane bench scorer for the LA Clippers.

If one heard the news that a former Raptor dropped 50 points on Wednesday night, surely that scoring output would have come from one of those eight names. Yet it wasn't Kawhi Leonard, DeMar DeRozan or Fred VanVleet who put up 50 points this season: it was Malachi Flynn.

Malachi Flynn scored 50 points

Flynn is in his fourth season in the NBA after the Raptors drafted him 29th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. He was a perennial backup behind Lowry and VanVleet in Toronto, starting only as an injury replacement. One time he popped off for 27 points in a game, his career high heading into Wednesday night.

The Raptors included Flynn in the OG Anunoby trade earlier this season, essentially a throw-in to provide the Knicks some extra guard depth. He played 60 minutes for the Knicks before they rerouted him to the Detroit Pistons on Trade Deadline Day. He has now played in 18 games for Detroit, scoring a total of 98 points in 17 appearances leading into Wednesday night's showdown with the Atlanta Hawks.

Flynn began the game against the Hawks on the bench, then checked in and never looked back. He scored 50 points, including going 9-for-12 from the free-throw line (his previous career-high in attempts was eight) and shooting 18-for-25 from the field. He added six rebounds, five assists and a career-high five steals in 34 minutes.

Only three times in NBA history has a player come off the bench and scored 50 points: Jamal Crawford in 2019, Nick Anderson in 1993, and Flynn on Wednesday night.

It's hard to quantify expectation, but there is a case to be made that Flynn's 50 points was the most unexpected 50-point game in NBA history. ESPN's Tim Bontemps pointed out that Flynn's career scoring average of 5.2 points per game heading into his 50-point game was by far the lowest in NBA history, just ahead of another player familiar to the Raptors:

Malachi Flynn just put up the most unlikely and unexpected 50-point game in NBA history.

The Detroit Pistons would still lose the game to Atlanta 121-113, as the short-handed Pistons that needed Flynn to play 34 minutes couldn't stop the Hawks on the other end. Someone get Malachi Flynn some help - he can't do it all on his own!

In a contract year, Flynn may have earned himself a significant amount of money and an extension of his NBA career, in addition to entering the record books. Not bad for a Wednesday night in Atlanta

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