Former Duke basketball guard comes back to earth

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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A Duke basketball alum came up big in a win despite seeing his streak end.

Before the Toronto Raptors’ 127-120 overtime win at home over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night, former Duke basketball one-and-done Gary Trent Jr. was riding a five-game streak with 30 or more points plus at least five made 3-pointers. Only three others in history had accomplished that feat: Stephen Curry, James Harden, and Damian Lillard.

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But Trent, a 2018 second-round draft pick, came up short of 30 points and five makes from downtown against the Bulls.

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound full-time starter at shooting guard finished with 16 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, and only one turnover across his 40 minutes on the court. He did so while shooting 5-for-13 from the field, 3-for-8 beyond the arc, and 3-for-3 from the charity stripe.

Clutch plays down the stretch from the Duke basketball product

While the 30-point, five-three streak ended, Gary Trent Jr.’s importance to the Toronto Raptors (27-23) most certainly did not. No, the 23-year-old’s highlights from the night included a game-sealing steal and subsequent splash from deep with under a minute to play in overtime.

So thanks in large part to stellar displays from Trent over the past two weeks, the Raptors as a whole are now officially on fire at No. 7 in the Eastern Conference standings. They have come out on top in four straight outings. Plus, consider the win streak includes a combined three victories over the current top two teams in the East in the Miami Heat (33-20) and Chicago Bulls (32-19).

Trent and the Raptors will try to make it five straight when they host the Atlanta Hawks (25-26) at 7:30 p.m. ET Friday.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more on Gary Trent Jr.’s breakout season, plus other news and views involving Duke basketball players in the NBA.