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Detroit Pistons Reserve Malachi Flynn Hits 50 Points in Loss Against Hawks

Malachi Flynn (Via NBA)

Detroit Pistons reserve point guard Malachi Flynn delivered a rare 50-point performance in Wednesday night’s 121-113 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

This was just the third instance of a player scoring 50 points or more off the bench since starters began being tracked in 1970-71.

Jamal Crawford scored 51 for the Phoenix Suns in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks in 2019, and Nick Anderson scored 50 for the Orlando Magic in a win over the New Jersey Nets in 1993.

“Right now, it’s tough, because at the end of the day, you want to win,” Flynn said. “But it does feel good to kind of take in the moment. I’m sure a couple of days from now, it will feel really good.”

Detroit Pistons (Via NBA)

Flynn’s 50 points set a Pistons franchise record for a reserve and marked a career high for him.

Flynn, whose previous career high was 27, shot 18-for-25 from the floor and 9-for-12 from the line. He also recorded a season-high 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals in 34 minutes of play.

Flynn’s career average of 5.2 points entering Wednesday’s game was the lowest career scoring average at the time of a 50-point game in NBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

He became the first player to score 50 points with 70% shooting in a game off the bench since tracking of starters and reserves began.

Malachi Flynn (Via NBA)

The Hawks built a 59-50 halftime lead, but every time they started to pull away, Flynn kept the Pistons in the game with shots from all over the floor.

“He was making contested shots and he got to the foul line, which got him going,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “We tried to get more aggressive on him and impact him, and he still made plays. He played great.”

The Pistons closed the gap to within five points late in the fourth quarter but couldn’t get any closer as Atlanta clinched a berth in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.

The Pistons have lost 10 of their past 11 games.

Starting point guard Cade Cunningham was a late scratch with a left knee injury after initially being listed in the lineup. Jaden Ivey took his place among the starters.

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