Sports | August 2, 2020 12:10 pm

Who Is Indiana’s T.J. Warren, and Why Did He Just Score 53 Points?

The sixth-year forward became just the fourth player in Pacers history to score 50-plus points

Warren Points Record
T.J. Warren of the Indiana Pacers shoots the ball against Al Horford of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter at the Visa Athletic Center in the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 1, 2020.
Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images

While there have already been a handful of star players going off in the first three days of the NBA’s Orlando bubble, the most shocking performance so far has to be from Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren. The sixth-year swingman exploded on the Philadelphia 76ers to the tune of 53 points on Saturday, helping the Pacers keep their hopes for home-court advantage in the playoffs alive.

Wearing “JUSTICE” on the back of his jersey, Warren did most of his work in a key fourth-quarter, dropping 19 points in the final frame to help the Pacers overcome a 10-point deficit to win 127-121. In the process, he also tied the Paul George’s Pacers record for most three-pointers in a game with 9.

The 53 points easily became Warren’s new career-high; his previous high was 40 in the 2016-2017 season, when he was part of the Phoenix Suns. Speaking of the Suns, they might be kicking themselves right about now; the team traded Warren to the Pacers last summer alongside the 32nd pick in the draft in exchange for cash considerations. Oops.

Prior to Saturday’s explosion, Warren might have been most familiar to casual NBA fans for his dust-up with Miami’s Jimmy Butler earlier this season. As fans were quick to point out on Saturday, Butler had said Warren isn’t even in his same league, but now they both have the same career-high for points in a single contest.

For the season, Warren has been a key cog in the Pacers starting lineup, suiting for 62 of the team’s 66 games and starting them all. He’s averaging 19.2 points per game, the highest on the team, so perhaps it’s not surprising that he would explode. Then again, he became just the fourth player in Pacers history to score 50 or more in a game, after Billy Knight, Reggie Miller and Jermaine O’Neal, so this is shocking no matter which way you look at it.

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