Pistons' Flynn stuns with 50-point game off bench

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

It was just the third game of 50 points or more by a player off the bench since starters were first tracked in 1970-71. Jamal Crawford scored 51 for the Phoenix Suns in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks in 2019, and Nick Anderson had 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.”

The 50 points were a Pistons franchise record for a reserve as well as a career high for Flynn.

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

Flynn’s career average of 5.2 points entering Wednesday 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 with 50 points and 70% shooting in a game off the bench since tracking of starters and reserves began.

The Hawks built a 59-50 halftime lead, but every time they started to pull away, Flynn helped the Pistons respond with buckets 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 pulled to within five late in the fourth quarter but could get no 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.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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