Do you like Russ Smith? Do you like basketball games where one player scores a ridiculous amount of points? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then Wednesday night was for you. Smith went off for a D-League record 65 points in the Delaware 87ers' game against the Canton Charge, putting on the kind of performance that'll make you actually think about the D-League for once.
Smith was an absolute beast against the Charge, who actually won the game, 140-129, despite letting him score pretty much at will. The former Louisville star shot 24-of-42 from the field and 16-of-20 from the free throw line in 44 minutes. Usually you expect a player to hit a few threes if they're padding the scoring total like Smith did, but he only managed one triple in the entire game against Canton. Beyond the points, Smith also recorded six rebounds and four assists.
He could've scored more, too, if he had not missed this dunk following a strong drive to the rim:
Sixty-five is still pretty good, though.
The old D-League scoring record was held by Jordan McRae, who scored 61 as a member of the 87ers in January. McRae has since signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers and made the NBA leap. Smith presumably hopes to follow a similar path from D-League record-breaking to holding an NBA gig.
The 87ers are the D-League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, who originally drafted Smith in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. He's since bounced around with other teams, including the Grizzlies most recently, but ended up signing with Delaware in January after Memphis waived him.
Smith has been putting up huge numbers with the 87ers, even before his record-breaking performance. The guard averaged 26.3 points, 8.3 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 20 games with the team entering Wednesday night. Now that scoring average will go even higher as Smith continues to make his case for another shot at the next level. Any NBA teams watching his latest performance had to be impressed.