Fred VanVleet is hardly known for his scoring outbursts. While the Toronto Raptors guard averages nearly 19 points per game, he’s remarkably consistent in generating those points. Entering Tuesday, VanVleet had never scored 40 points in a college or NBA game. He didn’t even need three quarters to cross that threshold, though, as Vanvleet posted the best offensive game of his career.
VanVleet scored 54 points in Toronto’s victory over the Orlando Magic, an explosion that represents far more than just his own career-high. With his final bucket, he broke both DeMar DeRozan’s team record of 52 points and Hall-of-Famer Moses Malone’s league record of 53 points from an undrafted player.
VanVleet had another major NBA record in his sights as well. He shot 8-of-9 from behind the arc in the first half, putting him on pace to break the record for most 3-pointers in a game as well. That record is currently held by Klay Thompson, who made 14 in a 2018 game against the Chicago Bulls. VanVleet made three 3-pointers in the third quarter, giving him a shot at the record, but then attempted only one in the fourth quarter. He missed it and therefore finished short of even Donyell Marshall’s team-record of 12.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse removed VanVleet with 2:37 remaining in the game, ending any chance of further history or a 60-point night. VanVleet will have to settle for having had the most prolific night in Raptors history, as well helping his team pull within one game of the Charlotte Hornets and the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.