In the 26 year history of the Toronto Raptors, four players have scored over 50 points in a game.
Before Fred VanVleet dropped 54 on the Orlando Magic, there was DeMar DeRozan and his 52 against the Bucks in 2018. Before DeMar, Terrence Ross’ 51 in 2014 shared the title with Vince Carter, tying the 14-year long record set against the Phoenix Suns.
As I’m sure your timeline has been flooded with highlights from Fred VanVleet’s historic performance, I’ve decided to look at the other 50 pieces in Raptors history.
If I’m being honest, there was a huge part of me that wanted DeMar to hold this record for the rest of the franchise’s history.
I feel like it should have happened sooner but DeMar eventually broke the 50 point barrier in his last season as a Raptor – putting up 52 in a 131-127 win on New Years Day 2018.
At this point in the season, the Raptors were 25-10 and a comfortable 2nd seed in the East. DeMar was struggling a bit more with his shot this season – having had a career-year the season prior – but everything was falling against the Bucks. DeRozan shot five-for-nine from the three-point line, shooting 59 percent from the field.
It was kind of funny to see that his plus/minus was only plus-nine, considering he did score 52… but hey, DeMar was never known for his defence.
Ultimately, it is bittersweet to see our beloved DeRozan’s record be broken but at least it was broken by a guy like Fred VanVleet and not some random guy who was averaging, I don’t know, 9.3 points at the time.
Terrence Ross was that random guy who was averaging 9.3 points when he went off for 51 against the Clippers on January 25th, 2014.
Ross, who tied Vince Carter’s franchise record, actually set an NBA record for being the only player in the league to score 50 points while averaging under 10.
I guess that’s something to brag about? Seems like a double edged sword when you think about it.
I was actually at that game, and it was equally as exciting as it was tragic. Exciting because Terrence Ross hit ten threes and you could feel the whole stadium’s energy build every time he touched the ball.
Tragic because it was pretty clear that Toronto was going to lose the game pretty early on. They only lost by eight, 126-118, but it felt like a blowout the whole time. In the final minutes of the game, Ross’ teammates were desperately passing him the ball doing anything they could to get him to 50.
He was also minus-four on the night… he scored 51. Come on.
To make it even more tragic
Ross went to the line, sitting on 50 points, with under ten seconds to go. Make two free throws and you are the sole record holder of most points in franchise history. Miss one, and you have to share it with some guy named “Vince Carter.”
Everyone in the crowd was holding their breath, myself included. No one cared that the Raptors were going lose this game, everyone was just focused on 52.
First shot goes up…
Nothing but net.
He has tied the record! One more to go for sole possession of the Raptors single game scoring record! Ross is a perfect nine-for-nine from the line.
Here we go…
The guy bricks it… no clutch gene. He made the first one, sure, but if you’re going to lose a game like that, at least make sure you don’t have to share a record with someone else.
Okay, so at least T-Ross got to share it with the man who made the Toronto Raptors relevant.
Vince Carter, the OG Toronto Raptor, was the very first player to wear a Raptor jersey and drop a 50 piece. Carter scored 51 against the Suns way back in February of 2000.
Given the fact that I was only four-years-old at the time, I don’t remember much from this game. Looking at the box score – it was pretty clear that Carter had absolutely no help. The next highest scorer on the team was a second-year Tracy McGrady with 15 – nobody else cracked double digits. Hard to believe it took him four more years to ask for a trade out of Canada.
Toronto did end up winning the game, 103-102, a nail-biter at home.
Well Done Freddy
With the exception of Terrence Ross, these are some pretty big names to pass in the Raptors record books.
It is unfortunate that this didn’t happen under better circumstances – I’m sure Raptors fans would have loved to see this live in their own building – but beggars can’t be choosers. I hope Fred and the rest of the team are able to celebrate responsibly and hopefully this is exactly what they needed to turn things around.