Terrence Ross in just his second year with the Toronto Raptors joined some rare company on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. With DeMar DeRozan spraining his foot after just 21 minutes of play, the onus fell on the young wing. He more than answered the call with easily the most prolific performance of his career.
Ross played a monstrous 44 minutes and put up even more monstrous numbers. He finished the game with 51 points, nine rebounds, one assist and one steal while shooting 16-29 from the floor, 10-17 from three, and 9-10 from the foul line. His 51 points ties Vince Carter for the single-game scoring record in Raptors franchise history and Ross joined Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony as the only players to score 50 points or more in a game over the 2013-14 NBA season.
Though Ross’ game was phenomenal, there is certainly a bittersweet taste to it. For one, the Raptors fell to the Clippers by a score of 126-118. More than that, though, Ross went to the foul line with 50 points and around four seconds left on the clock. At the time, he was a perfect 8-8 from the line. He knocked down the first one, but the second rimmed out, thus robbing Ross of sole possession of the Toronto single-game scoring record.
Ross’ role has increased a great deal since the Rudy Gay trade and, though this was by far his best performance, he’s been producing well since then. Playing 29.8 minutes per game since Gay was traded, Ross has averaged 13.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and one steal per game. His 42 percent field goal percentage is pretty mundane, but his 43 percent shooting from long-range has been arguably the most impressive part of his play with this newfound bigger role in Toronto.
When the Raptors drafted Ross, people wondered how they were going to develop him. When the team then traded for Gay last season, the move effectively buried Ross on the bench. He’s still young and developing, but it’s becoming clear that he’s a talent that was worth a lottery pick and has a bright future with Toronto and in the league. He’s not going to put up 50 every night, but him stepping up and carrying his team is something that we should probably get used to.