Gary Trent Scores 44 Points, Rookie Adds 20 in Raptors Blowout Victory
This may turn into yet another one of Masai Ujiri’s master classes.
Nearly a month ago, the shrewd and calculated Ujiri opted to trade a fan favourite in Norman Powell who has grown into one of the game’s most underrated scorers and shooters. The big coup in the return package was 22-year old Gary Trent Jr, a shooting guard out of Duke who showed glimpses of potential inside of the NBA Orlando bubble just one season ago.
In nine games since arriving, Trent has very quickly turned into a cornerstone piece on a transitioning Toronto Raptors team.
He has bought into the Raptors way and has done everything he could to earn the love of the organization’s fan base. That is to say, if he hasn’t earned the intrigue from the Raptors hopeful before yesterday, he definitely did following last night’s glorious performance. Since his arrival from Portland, Trent has elevated his game to a whole new level.
“In Portland obviously the situation there is the players I’m playing behind, I’m playing behind for a reason; they are who they are,” Trent Jr. said after pouring in a career-high 44 points on 17-19 shooting in a 135-115 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. “They’re great players. So all I did was you know work, watch them, learn as much as I could, you know, and now I’m getting an opportunity to take everything I took from the Portland Trail Blazers organization, and the teammates [there] — as in my work ethic, my approach to the game, everything — so I just bring everything I learned from there, come here and applying it. [And I’m] being put in certain opportunities to showcase, you know, what I can do in those situations.”
To go along with his stellar performance, the Raptors continue to see impressive growth from rookie point guard Malachi Flynn who added a career-high 20 points and 11 assists. With both Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet out with injury, Flynn has taken advantage of the extra playing to show the organization what he is capable of.
“It’s been a great opportunity for me to really play a lot of minutes, play through some mistakes, just continuing to learn the game at this level,” said Flynn. “It’s been a little bit of a learning process but [I’m] just trying to get better every game and everybody else is just helping me along the way.
“You always wanna play. But that’s just how the game works. Sometimes it’s not your time and other times it is. [I have been] waiting on mine … and I’m just trying to take advantage of that.”
The Raptors remain on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture, but with the strong recent play of Trent and Flynn, the team’s future continues to look up!