Donovan Mitchell is everything the Cleveland Cavaliers could’ve hoped for they traded for him and more – and this solidifies it – in one of the NBA’s greatest ever scoring performances.
Mitchell went off for a career-high 71 points to shatter several records and lead the Cleveland Cavaliers past the Chicago Bulls at home 145-134 in overtime on Tuesday (all times AEDT).
The 25-year old’s epic line included shooting 22-of-34 from the field and 20-of-25 from the free throw line with seven three-pointers, eight rebounds and 11 assists in 50 minutes – becoming the first ever player to record 70 plus points and 10 plus assists.
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The superstar guard topped his previous career-best (57 points) and broke LeBron James and Kyrie Irving’s co-owned Cavaliers franchise record (57) as well as the most ever points scored against the Chicago Bulls since their inception in 1966 – eclipsing Wilt Chamberlain’s 68 points against them in 1967.
It’s also tied for the eighth-most points ever scored in an NBA game and the most scored since the legendary Kobe Bryant’s 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
Mitchell’s heroics included purposely missing a free throw with three seconds left in regulation and hitting a clutch put back layup to get to 58 points and send the game into the extra period.
He would then score 13 points in overtime to lead Cleveland to a huge win, drawing MVP chants from the home fans late in the piece when he had possession of the ball.
“Man, first and foremost, my teammates – we fought. I know I had 70 and all, but I wouldn’t be here without them and we wouldn’t be in this position without guys making crucial plays. That’s the honest truth,” Mitchell told Bally Sports Cleveland post-match.
“We all did it as a group, my teammates put me in the right positions and I just made the plays.
“I told (coach) JB (Bickerstaff): ‘Don’t take me out, I’m going to find a way to lead us in every aspect.’
“I’m just truly blessed and humbled we got the win, that’s really all that matters.
“Honestly, I was shocked. I’m cramping and I couldn’t walk the final minute and a half.”
Mitchell then said to the crowd: “We got to go, but I appreciate it, everybody – thank you, we appreciate y’all,” as he was met with loud cheers.
If Mitchell breaking all the aforementioned individual records wasn’t enough, the Cavaliers completed the biggest comeback in the NBA this season after trailing Chicago by 21 earlier in the contest.
Mitchell, who was traded from Utah to Cleveland during the off-season for a blockbuster package that included three first-round picks and two pick swaps, took full advantage of extra usage with backcourt partner Darius Garland (thumb) and big man Evan Mobley (ankle) missing the game, while Jarret Allen added 21 points and eight rebounds for Cleveland, who improved to 24-14.
DeMar DeRozan scored a massive 44 points himself for the Bulls, but his effort was overshadowed by Mitchell in a performance at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse that will be talked about for some time.
Originally published as Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell smashes NBA records in historic 71-point game