D’Angelo Russell got ‘in that zone’ on way to first-ever 50-point game

D’Angelo Russell was a first-time All-Star last season, and on Friday night he showed why he’s one of the most dynamic young guards in the NBA.

Russell scored a career-high 52 points in the Golden State Warriors’ 125-119 loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also grabbed nine rebounds and had five assists.

Russell’s performance made him the first Warrior to have that stat line since Rick Barry did so in 1978, according to Justin Kubatko of Stat Muse.  After the game, Russell talked about what the career night meant to him.

“It’s cool, it’s cool,” Russell said, per The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “Obviously want the win. You get in that zone, man, you try to chase that zone every game, every practice you get in that zone, you can’t miss. Shots are just falling. So I just tried to keep going and keep fighting and put my team in the best position.”

Russell said it’s hard to score 50 in the NBA and that the accomplishment is something scorers strive for.

Since the 2015-16 season, Russell is the fourth player to score 50 or more points before his 24th birthday, according to Basketball Reference. 

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has done it three times. Anthony Davis accomplished the feat twice in 2016, and Karl Anthony-Towns did it once in 2018.

Aside from Davis, each of the players in that group are part of the 2015 NBA draft class.

With Russell having perhaps the best game of his career, he could bring a spark to this young team. At 23 years old, Russell isn’t necessarily a veteran.

But Russell, Kevon Looney and Jacob Evans are the only players on the roster 23 or younger who have playoff experience. Russell’s experience could help the Warriors as they continue to learn and improve throughout the season.

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