Pistons reserve Malachi Flynn scored 50 against the Hawks

Detroit Pistons reserve point guard Malachi Flynn turned in a rare 50-point performance in Wednesday night's 121-113 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

It was the third game with 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 2019 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, and Nick Anderson scored 50 for the Orlando Magic in a 1993 win over the New Jersey Nets.

“Now, it's tough because at the end of the day, you want to win,” Flynn said. “But it's good to take this moment. I'm sure it'll be a lot better after a few days.”

The 50 points were a Pistons franchise record for a reserve and Flynn's career high.

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

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Flynn's career average of 5.2 points entering Wednesday was the lowest career scoring average during a 50-point game in NBA history. He became the first player to reach 50 points and 70% shooting since tracking starters and reserves.

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 and that got him fired up,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “We tried to be more aggressive on him and affect him and he made more plays. He played better.”

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The Pistons pulled within five late in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer as Atlanta clinched a spot in the Eastern Conference play-in race.

The Pistons have lost 10 of their last 11 games.

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

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

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