Ken Blaze / USA TODAY Sports
Donovan Mitchell is the seventh player in NBA history to score 70 or more points in a game. The Cleveland Cavaliers star finished the 145-134 win over the Chicago Bulls with an incredible 71 points, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, David Thompson, David Robinson, Elgin Baylor and Devin Booker in the illustrious 70-point club. With Booker scoring exactly 70 points, Mitchell now has the highest single-game scoring of any active player in the NBA. It was the 12th 70-point game in NBA history as Chamberlain equaled that number six times.
Cleveland needed every one of Mitchell’s 71 points to secure the decisive win. The Cavs had lost three games in a row, and without Mitchell’s heroics they would have lost a fourth. With less than five seconds to go, Mitchell was on the free-throw line and needed a miss, an offensive rebound and a bucket to send a 130-128 game into overtime. Just like Luka Doncic last week, Mitchell made the comeback at low odds.
Mitchell scored 13 of Cleveland’s 15 overtime points, overshadowing a 44-point masterpiece by DeMar DeRozan. Mitchell’s performance ultimately eclipses any single-game results performance in recent NBA memory. Not only did Mitchell break Cleveland’s team record of 57 points set by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on separate occasions, but it was also the highest-scoring game by an NBA player since Bryant’s 81 points in 2006.
Mitchell was already having by far the best season of his career for a Cleveland team chasing the top seed in the Eastern Conference. He’s averaging a career-high 28 points per game while flirting with a 50-40-90 shooting split. That game was the crown jewel of his incredible season, the best game not only of his own career but also one of the best any player has had in the history of basketball.