Fred VanVleet has produced an inspired performance on both ends of the floor to power the Toronto Raptors to a 123-108 win over the Orlando Magic.
It was a career-night for VanVleet, who shot an incredible 11-of-14 from beyond the arc to finish with a 54-point haul.
His previous career record was 36 points and his insane total against Orlando set an NBA record for single-game scoring by an undrafted player.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets superstar trio conjured up 90 points between them in a thrilling down-to-the-wire win over the LA Clippers that was quickly labelled the game of the year.
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VanFleet’s 54 points was also a franchise record for Toronto, passing DeMar DeRozan’s 52-point effort in 2018.
It was fitting that Kyle Lowry assisted the bucket that gave VanVleet the record after a huge supporting performance.
Lowry had 10 assists and finished with his 15th triple-double as a Raptor (14 points, 10 rebounds).
It was a huge turnaround from downtown for VanVleet, who shot just 1-of-7 from deep in the 115-102 win over Orlando on Tuesday [AEDT], finishing with only nine points in that game.
Pascal Siakam topped the scoring for Toronto in that victory, finishing with 30 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
Siakam had 12 points on Wednesday [AEDT] but he was contributing in other ways, dishing out the buckets with eight assists while he also had five rebounds.
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Aron Baynes made his presence felt on the defensive end while Norman Powell picked up 23 points, with his highlight coming in the form of a brutal second-quarter dunk.
The Raptors held a slim 64-60 advantage at the break with VanVleet expectedly carrying a heavy load, responsible for 28 of the 64 points with eight successful 3-pointers – a franchise record for a first half.
He was not just dominating offensively though, with VanVleet also coming up big in defence with three blocks and just as many steals.
VanVleet re-signed with the Raptors in November on a four-year deal reportedly worth $A85 million ($A112m) – by far the richest NBA contract signed by an undrafted player, per ESPN Stats & Info.
Nets pip Clippers – just
James Harden led the Brooklyn Nets all-star trio with a triple-double in a clutch four-point win over the LA Clippers which was quickly labelled the game of the season.
The Nets were behind at every break, but managed to clinch victory on the back of their unbelievable shotmaking – something which was a feature of both teams’ play in a superb fixture.
The Nets had blasted to away 10-point lead with 1:55 to go, before the Clippers fought back to shrink the margin to just one point. But James Harden launched a full-court pass with seven seconds remaining to hit Jeff Green, whose basket ended up sealing the victory.
Harden hit 23 points to go with 11 rebounds and 14 assists, marking a milestone 50th NBA triple-double – just the eighth player to reach that mark. It was his fourth triple-double in nine games with the Nets.
Kyrie Irving put on a shooting masterclass, hitting 15 of 23 field goal attempts, including 6 of 8 from deep. He finished with a season-high 39 points, five rebounds and two assists in the 124-120 victory.
Kevin Durant had 28 points on 11 from 13 shooting alongside nine rebounds.
Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 33 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Paul George (26 points, four rebounds and six assists) and Nicolas Batum (21 points, six rebounds) were both exceptional.
But the Nets hit 45 of 79 attempts, an incredible field goal percentage of 57.0, to prevail when it counted.
The Nets now move to 14-9 for the season while the Clippers coughed up their league-leading record by slipping to 16-6.
Given the stellar performances from both rosters, the two teams have been tipped to face off again once the NBA Finals come around.
Beal reaches Jordan’s record – and loses againBradley Beal just keeps on posting big numbers for the Wizards, this time netting 37 points in 38 minutes in a 121-132 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Beal now has 25-plus points in 16 consecutive games to begin this season, equalling Michael Jordan’s record streak to start a season.
Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain (twice), and Rick Barry also achieved the feat in the pre-merger era.
He was aided by a Russell Westbrook triple double, of 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
Meanwhile Damian Lillard tallied 32 points and eight assists for Portland, while Carmelo Anthony’s 21 points took him past Dominique Wilkins into 13th on the all-time scoring charts.
Sadly, however, Beal’s Washington side have only managed a dismal record of 4 wins from 17 games this season, good enough for the worst in the league.