• Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren scored 53 points on Saturday to help the Pacers beat the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • Warren hit two clutch and bold three-pointers, the last a 31-foot shot, over the final 65 seconds to finish off the Sixers.
  • The Suns traded Warren plus three second-round picks to the Pacers in exchange for $1.1 million in cash last summer.
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Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren was the unlikely hero of the NBA bubble on Saturday.

The 26-year-old exploded for 53 points on 20-of-29 shooting, 9-of-12 from three, to help the Pacers beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 127-121. It was the first game for both teams since the 2019-20 season resumed in a bubble in Disney.

Warren was essentially given to the Pacers last summer. After five seasons with the Phoenix Suns, the team essentially traded Warren, plus three second-round picks to the Pacers in exchange for $1.1 million in cash – nothing else.

The move proved to be a smart one on Saturday for the Pacers. Warren, who averaged 18.7 points per game this season, hit two clutch, audacious three-pointers in less than one minute to ice the game.

The first was particularly bold. With the Pacers leading 121-116 with just over a minute to play, the Pacers brought up the ball, scrambling to beat the Sixers’ full-court press. Warren caught the ball wide open on the elbow, with 16 seconds left on the shot clock. Normally, players would hold the ball and try to run out the clock. Warren instead let the shot fly and hit it to reach 50 points.

Two possessions later, after the Sixers cut the lead to three, Warren bailed out the Pacers with a deep, 31-foot three-pointer before the shot clock expired. The basket gave him 53 points and sealed the Pacers win.

It was the Pacers’ first 50-point game since Jermaine O’Neal in 2005.

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