Truly great performances don’t happen too often in the NBA, but during the Toronto Raptors’ game against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night, basketball fans around the world witnessed one from guard Fred VanVleet. While leading his team to a victory over the Magic, VanVleet dropped 54 points and picked up 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks over the course of 37 minutes.

The Raptors guard’s performance was not only enough to clinch a much-needed win for the franchise --which has had its fair share of struggles early this season -- it also further cemented VanVleet’s place in basketball’s history books. His top-tier scoring allowed him to surpass DeMar DeRozan's single-game franchise record of 52 points, and he also outperformed the late Moses Malone to add the NBA record for the most points ever by an undrafted player to his brag sheet.

Even for a player who helped lead his team through a successful championship run back in 2019, these accomplishments must still mean a lot to 26-year-old Fred VanVleet as well as the Toronto Raptors, who bet big on the point guard with an $85 million resigning deal this offseason. His awe-inspiring play even solicited a positive reaction from former teammate DeMar DeRozan.

Having failed to secure a spot in the NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble last year, VanVleet’s record-breaking performance gives the Raptors a major dose of inspiration as they hope to solidify their standing in the Eastern Conference before playoffs begin in May. If he keeps playing like he did last night, however, they shouldn’t have a problem doing so.

[via]