Donovan Mitchell became the seventh player in NBA history to score 70 or more points in a game on Monday night. 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. As Booker scored 70 exactly, Mitchell now has the highest single-game point total of any active player in the NBA. It was the 12th 70-point game in NBA history, as Chamberlain reached that figure six times.
Cleveland needed every one of Mitchell's 71 points to secure the critical victory. The Cavs had lost three games in a row, and were it not for Mitchell's exploits, would have lost a fourth. With less than five seconds to go, Mitchell stood at the free-throw line needing a miss, an offensive rebound and a bucket to send a 130-128 game to overtime. Just as Luka Doncic did last week, Mitchell successfully executed the low-odds comeback.
Donovan Mitchell pic.twitter.com/MmPkZim44Y— That's a highlight (@ClipIt_NBA) January 3, 2023
Mitchell scored 13 of Cleveland's 15 overtime points, and in the process, overshadowed a 44-point masterpiece out of DeMar DeRozan. Mitchell's performance ultimately outshines any single-game scoring output in recent NBA memory. Not only did Mitchell break Cleveland's team record of 57 points, set on separate occasions by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, but it was the highest-scoring game any NBA player has had since Bryant's 81 points in 2006.
Mitchell was already having the best season of his career by far for a Cleveland team in the hunt for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. He is averaging a career-high 28 points per game while flirting with 50-40-90 shooting split. This game was the crown jewel of his incredible season, the best game of not only his own career, but one of the best any player has ever had in the history of basketball.