Donovan Mitchell said he felt “humiliated” after becoming the seventh player in NBA history to score 70 points in a single game after dropping 71 points in a win for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.
The Cavaliers defeated the Chicago Bulls 145–134 in overtime, with Mitchell scoring a career-high 71 points while shooting 22-of-34 from long range, hitting seven-of-15 from long range, and 20 of his 25 free throws.
In doing so, he beat his own personal best by 14 points after scoring 57 points in a playoff loss to the Utah Jazz in 2020, 25 points better than his previous regular season record of 46.
He also broke the Cavaliers franchise record previously held by both Kyrie Irving in 2015 and LeBron James in 2017.
Mitchell added 11 assists and 8 rebounds to his stats, meaning he scored or assisted on 99 of the 145 points scored by his team – the second tally in history, surpassed only by Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary 100-point game in 1962, when he was responsible for 104 points.
Adding to his heroics, he single-handedly forced extra time when he deliberately missed a free kick three seconds from the end of regulation time, then recovered his own rebound to return the tie.
Mitchell single-handedly defeated the Bulls 13-4 in overtime to end an unforgettable night.
Speaking after the game, Mitchell said he had never scored that many at any level except in video games.
“Never – except [NBA] 2K, definitely in 2K,” he said. “When I first got into the league, I played as Jazz and shot it every time.
“I don’t think I’ve done it that effectively in 2K, but no, I’ve never done it [scored 71 at any level]. The closest I think I was in a bubble was 57 – but it was a loss so I feel a lot better. “
When asked what it was like to join Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Elgin Baylor, David Robinson, David Thompson and Devin Booker as the only players to reach 70 points, Mitchell was initially speechless.
“It’s humiliating,” he said. “I was speechless, to be honest with you.
“For me, not only did I do it, but I did it with effort when we came back and won – we won anyway. It really was like ‘dude this is crazy’ to me.
“I am extremely blessed, I am humbled to be in this company, in this group. I always believed I could be one of the best players in this league, but I have to keep working.
“It’s a big milestone, but at the end of the day, all these guys have won at the highest level and that’s my ultimate goal, but to be in the record books with them is really amazing.”
Teammate Kevin Love was in Cleveland on their incredible four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals with James and Irving, but stated it was the best performance he had ever seen in person.
“In my 15 years, it’s the best performance I’ve ever seen, ever been a part of,” he said.
“I’ve seen some exceptional ones, I’ve been talking about Kyrie here against Portland when he was 55, LeBron in Game 1 of the 2018 Finals, 57 for Kyrie in San Antonio – but this one takes the pie.”
Head coach JB Bickerstaff echoed this admiration for Mitchell’s display.
“We were treated to one of the best performances in the history of the game today,” he said. “Every game he made was a game that was necessary.
“Donovan never put himself above the team, so how can you not root for a guy like that? I told everyone to get out of the way.”
The win improves the Cavaliers’ record to 24-14, finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference, while they boast the fourth-best home record in the league (17-4).