Before the onset of this season, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet set a record by signing the biggest contract for an undrafted free agent in league history: four years, $85 million.
Before Tuesday, VanVleet had never scored 40 points in a college or NBA game. He did not even need three quarters to cross that, as he posted the best offensive game of his career.
On Tuesday night, VanVleet scored 54 points in Toronto’s 123-108 win over the Orlando Magic – the most ever by an undrafted player in NBA history, surpassing Hall of Famer Moses Malone’s record of 53 — as well as beating DeMar DeRozan’s single-game franchise record of 52 points.
The moment came with 3 minutes, 46 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter when Fred VanVleet made a layup that came off an assist from his close friend — and backcourt partner — Lowry.
He had 17 points in the first quarter, 28 by halftime and then 46 by the end of the third quarter. Two free throws and three layups in the fourth quarter allowed him to surpass both Malone and DeRozan and have his name written in the record books.
“Just a special night, obviously, a lot of different levels,” said VanVleet. “So just trying to enjoy it for now, but it’s not a championship or anything like that. It was a good game for me, and I’ll enjoy all the love for a couple hours and get ready for the next one.”
In 37 minutes, he also had 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks while shooting 17-for-23 from the field, 11-for-14 from the 3-point line and 9-for-9 from the foul line.