Donovan Mitchell scored a career-high 71 points, the NBA’s single-game best since Kobe Bryant’s 81-point performance in January 2006, and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied past the visiting Chicago Bulls in overtime, 145-134, on Monday.
Mitchell‘s performance sets a Cavaliers franchise record, is tied for the eighth-most points in an NBA game and puts him in company with just five other players in NBA history to score 71 points or more in a contest: Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor and David Robinson.
Mitchell poured in 13 points during the decisive extra period, including three of his seven made 3-pointers on the night. But had it not been for another three-point play in regulation, his opportunity to make history would not have come.
With the Cavaliers trailing 130-127 after a pair of Coby White free throws with 7.4 seconds remaining, Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu sent Mitchell to the foul line. Mitchell made the first then, after intentionally missing the second, chased down the carom for a putback to force a 130-130 tie and send the game to the extra period.
Cleveland capitalized on the momentum in overtime, holding Chicago scoreless for the period’s first 3:55.
DeMar DeRozan finally broke the dry spell with the final two of his 44 points, but the Cavaliers were in firm control at that juncture and headed for a second win over the Bulls in as many games.
Cleveland claimed a 103-102 victory in Chicago on Saturday.
In addition to his 71 points, Mitchell flirted with a triple-double, dishing 11 assists and grabbing eight rebounds. Kevin Love recorded a double-double for the Cavs with 12 points and 17 rebounds.
Cedi Osman came off the bench for Cleveland to score 19 points and knock down 4 of 11 from 3-point range — second best among the Cavaliers after Mitchell‘s 7-for-15 effort.
Jarrett Allen added 21 points for Cleveland.
DeRozan’s 44-point effort was his fourth game of 41 points or more this season. Zach LaVine added 26 points and Nikola Vucevic registered a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.