Early on Saturday, the Toronto Raptors announced that Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam would join Fred VanVleet on the injury report for their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The jokes arrived quickly on social media, but it turned out the Raptors weren't starting to tank, they were just giving Gary Trent Jr. center stage.
The swingman put on a show, pouring in a career-high 44 points on 17 of 19 from the field, as the Raptors cruised to a 135-115 win. Here's everything you need to know about one of the most surprising high-scoring nights of the season.
Trent puts on a shot-making clinic
Trent burst onto the scene with the Trail Blazers last season in large part because of his ability to shoot the ball. Well against the Cavaliers he put on a shot-making clinic. Obviously he had some easy looks along the way, but you don't go 17 of 19 entirely on wide open 3s and layups.
He was making all sorts of incredible shots, including some that he probably shouldn't have even taken in the first place.
Absurd floater? Check.
Step-back 3? Check.
Step-back mid-range? Check.
A history-making performance
Trent didn't just have the best performance of his career on Saturday, he also made history with one of the most efficient scoring games of all time. By going 17 of 19 from the field, he became just the 11th player to score 40-plus points while shooting 89 percent or better from the field.
In addition, Trent racked up a 107.9 effective field goal percentage, which was the second-highest mark for a 40-point game in NBA history, per ESPN Stats and Info. The only more efficient night belongs to Klay Thompson, who had a 110.9 eFG percentage back in 2019.
For those who aren't familiar, effective field goal percentage is a stat that takes into account 3-pointers being worth more than 2-pointers, and is calculated with the following formula: (FG + (0.5 x 3P)) / FGA. So if you have a very efficient game, and make a lot of 3s in the process, it's possible to have an eFG percentage that's over 100.
Here you can see Trent's line as an example: (17 + (0.5 x 7)) / 19 = 107.9 percent
Trent's legend grows in Toronto
In one of the many moves at the trade deadline, Trent was traded to the Raptors along with Rodney Hood in exchange for Norman Powell. This was just his ninth game with the Raptors since the deal, but he's already becoming something of a legend in Toronto.
- Plus-minus record
Earlier this month, the Raptors absolutely destroyed the Warriors. They led by as much as 61, and went on to a 130-77 win to claim the biggest blowout of the season. Trent finished with 24 points and five rebounds that night, but it was his plus-minus that really caught everyone's attention. He was a plus-54 for the game, which set a Raptors franchise record.
- Buzzer beater
A few days after the big win over the Warriors, the Raptors were in a much more competitive game against the Wizards. In fact, they were down by one with just seconds to play, and needed someone to step up. Enter Trent. He raced the length of the floor, nudged Raul Neto to the ground and buried the 3-pointer for the win at the buzzer.
- Blue Jays jersey
Trent isn't making his name in Toronto just for his play on the floor. He's also become a fan favorite for embracing all aspects of the city, including the baseball team, the Blue Jays. During the Jays' home opener earlier this week, he showed up to the Raptors' game in a customized Jays jersey.
Add in the 44-point outing on Saturday and you have a pretty incredible few weeks for Trent in Toronto. He's set to be a free agent this summer, but after this start it's hard to imagine him signing anywhere else.