On Monday night, Donovan Mitchell cemented one of the greatest scoring nights in NBA history.
Catching fire and inspired by that sheer will to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers, the All-Star guard summoned an offensive explosion with a career-high 71 points to stomp the Chicago Bulls in a 145-134 thriller win.
Mitchell’s 71 markers now sit atop the Cavaliers’ franchise record in points made in a single game, toppling the shared 57-point record by both Kyrie Irving (2015) and LeBron James (2017).
His single-game scoring eruption is also now the highest in the association since 2006, wherein the late great Kobe Bryant torched the Toronto Raptors with his jaw-dropping 81 points. The untouchable 100 points of the legendary Wilt Chamberlain in 1962 still has a firm grasp on the most points scored by a player in the 76-year history of the NBA.
“To be there in the record book with guys like Wilt is truly humbling,” said Mitchell, per ESPN. “I always believed I could be one of the best players in the league. I’m speechless and blessed to be in the company of that greatness.”
Down by 21 earlier, Mitchell’s unbelievable putback shot off his missed free throw propelled the Cavs to force overtime with the Bulls, 130-all. He then went off with a marvelous 13 markers on the extended period to ice off the game and be placed on the great pantheon of remarkable great offensive displays in the league’s record books.
“We were treated tonight to one of the greatest performances in the history of the game,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Every single play that he made was a play that was necessary.
“Donovan has never put himself above the team, so how can you not root for a guy like that? I told everyone else to get out of the way.”
Mitchell joins a historic company that managed to drop 70 points in a single game, sliding in with the likes of Chamberlain, Bryant, David Thompson, David Robinson, Elgin Baylor, and Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker.
The All-Star hotshot connected 22 of his 34 shot attempts while draining 7-of-13 threes for the Cavs on the whole evening. He also tied his career-best in assists with 11 and had eight boards to boost his great showmanship.
“I think I had a game like that once playing NBA2K, but I don’t think I shot that efficiently,” Mitchell joked. “But that was in a loss, so this feels that much better.”