Donovan Mitchell scored 71 points, an NBA season high and a franchise record, as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from 21 points down to defeat the Chicago Bulls 145-134 in overtime on Monday night.
It was the highest-scoring game since Lakers legend Kobe Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006. Wilt Chamberlain set the NBA record with 100 points on March 2, 1962, against New York in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Mitchell scored 13 points in overtime after forcing overtime by grabbing his own intentionally missed free throw and making a circus shot with 3.0 seconds left, tying the game at 130-all and breaking the Cavaliers’ record of 58 points.
“I’ve never seen a live performance like that,” Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “We were treated to one of the greatest performances in NBA history tonight.”
Mitchell became the 12th player to score 70 points in overtime. In addition to a career-high tying 11 assists and eight rebounds in 50 minutes, the former Utah Jazz standout set career highs with 20 free throws made and 25 free throw attempts.
Mitchell led the Cavaliers, who were without All-Star guard Darius Garland (right thumb sprain) and forward Evan Mobley (right ankle soreness) for the second straight game, by shooting 22 of 34 from the field and making 7 of 15 3-pointers.
“Every single play he made was a necessary play,” Bickerstaff said.
For Chicago, DeMar DeRozan scored 44 points, Zach LeVine added 26 points, and Nikola Vucevic added 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Mitchell buried a 3-pointer to start overtime, giving Cleveland its first lead change of the game. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving shared the previous Cavaliers record of 57 points.
The Central Division rivals squared off for the second time in three days. On December 31, Cleveland won 103-102 at the United Center.
TIME OF SPIDA
Mitchell came into the new year in a slump offensively, averaging 17.5 points per game while shooting 32.9% on 73 field goal attempts. With a 28.0 scoring average, he now ranks ninth in the NBA. “A lot of teams are sending a lot more bodies at him, and it’s our responsibility to help him,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s up to his teammates to recognise the importance of making teams pay and making plays.”
Bulls: G Javonte Green (right knee soreness) missed the game after playing in the previous three. Green has missed nine games due to the injury and will be examined thoroughly Tuesday in Chicago. “He was making some progress, then it flared up again,” said coach Billy Donovan. … G Lonzo Ball (left knee surgery) is lightly jogging and doing limited on-court work after missing the last game on January 14. Cavaliers: For the first time since 2016-2017, Cleveland has won in each of the first three months of the season. The latter completed a 16-month winning streak with All-Stars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. … F Dean Wade (left shoulder sprain), G Ricky Rubio (left knee rehabilitation), and G Dylan Windler (right ankle sprain) are all out. Rubio could be back in action in two weeks.