In the final minutes before the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Indiana Pacers in the inaugural In-Season Tournament Final, The Athletic's Shams Charania issued a troubling report: Austin Reaves, arguably the third best Laker, was dealing with a non-COVID related illness. His offense was going to be critical in a possible shootout with the run-and-gun Pacers, so the Lakers needed him at full strength.
Fortunately, Reaves delivered. He finished the final with 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He may have been overshadowed by the 41-20-5-4 line Anthony Davis posted, but the Lakers would not have won the first ever NBA Cup without the contributions of their ailing sixth man. So impressed with his performance was LeBron James that the legendary Laker blessed it with a comparison to one of the most famous individual games in NBA history.
"Who had the better flu game: AR or MJ?" James yelled at Reaves, according to The Athletic's Jovan Buha. "It's up for debate!" Whether James was serious or merely joking, we cannot say for certain (though the latter is obviously far likelier), but sadly for Reaves, Jordan almost certainly has him beat.
Jordan's famous Flu Game came in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. He outscored Reaves—38-to-28—while also racking up more assists, rebounds, steals and blocks. More pressingly, Jordan's game came in the NBA Finals. Reaves' came in a different sort of final, but nobody would equate the two during the In-Season Tournament's maiden voyage.
Sadly, while Reaves won't be leaving Vegas having had the greatest Flu Game in NBA history, he'll just have to settle for the consolation prizes of $500,000 in cash and an In-Season Tournament medal—one of the few things in the NBA that Jordan himself never won.