When DeMar DeRozan declared that he wanted to be the greatest Raptor of all time, he knew there was only one man who stood in his way — Vince Carter. Following yet another prolific scoring performance he moves a step closer to surpassing the Raptors legend.
After scoring 40 points against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, DeRozan tied Carter for the franchise record of most 30 or more point games in a season. Carter accomplished the feat 30 times in 2000-01.
The landmark marked the fifth time in the month of March that the seven-year veteran has reached the 30-point plateau and the seventh time this season he has clocked at least 40. DeRozan’s previous high for 30-point games in a season was 17, set in the 2013-14 campaign.
What makes the accomplishment even more impressive is the method by which the All-Star guard has been scoring. In a season that has seen a drastic increase in 3-point attempts across the league, DeRozan’s throwback style has been a revelation.
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Instead of relying on the 3 ball to rack up the points, the California native has trusted in his ability to get into the paint and to the free-throw line. In fact, DeRozan is currently one of only three backcourt players in the NBA this season with at least 700 points scored inside the paint — Russell Westbrook and John Wall being the others. And for the fifth straight season, DeRozan is amongst the top 10 in the league in made free-throws.
Though some might point to the prolonged absence of All-Star teammate Kyle Lowry as an explanation for the increased scoring from the former USC Trojan, it should be noted the high octane offensive output has been on display all season. The 27-year-old started the year spectacularly, scoring 30 or more points in 10 of the first 12 games of the season.
DeRozan in averaging a career high 27.2 points per game, just 0.4 off the franchise best 27.6 points per game, set by Carter in 2000-01.