T.J. Warren Goes Off Against 76ers With 53 Points and Game-Clinching Three

Mahlik Campbell

sports /

A walking bucket. 💦

If you weren't familiar with T.J. Warren as a casual NBA fan heading into the opening weekend of the season restart, he was more than happy to offer a proper introduction.

The Pacers forward went off for a career-high 53 points against the 76ers on Saturday night, leading his fifth-place squad to a 127-121 dub. It's the highest-scoring performance from a player in the bubble so far.

As part of his 19 points in the fourth, Warren also drained a game-clinching three-pointer in Ben Simmons' grill. His previous scoring high during his six-year career was 40 points.

Social media loved every second, especially since Phoenix traded him and the No. 32 pick in the 2019 Draft for straight cash considerations.

Teammates like Aaron Holiday and Victor Oladipo were far less shocked than most viewers, though. "If you know T.J. Warren, you know he's a bucket, so it's not surprising to me," Holiday told ESPN. "We just kept feeding the hot hand, to be honest, and he was on fire."

Oladipo echoed the "bucket" talk. "T.J. Warren been scoring his whole life. Since his AAU days to NC State," he said. "He's been a scorer since as long as I've known him. I've known him for a long time. ... He was born to get buckets, so it's no surprise to any of us that he was able to do what he did tonight."

Warren finished the night with nine threes, tying Paul George's franchise record set back in 2012. He also joined Reggie Miller, Jermaine O'Neal and Billy Knight as the only four names in Pacers history to drop a 50-burger.

"I'm just born to be a hooper," he admitted in a post-game chat. You can say that again!