Donovan Mitchell already had 69 points by the time he lined up at the line at the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ overtime win against the Chicago Bulls. It was evident in his free throw routine that he was exhausted from scoring that many points against a tough Bulls team.
However, he didn’t let fatigue get to him as he managed to sink the first FT attempt. The Cavaliers bench and the RocketMortgage FieldHouse were up on their feet as they witnessed their All-Star guard sink his second free throw to end the game with 71 points.
Kevin Love and the rest of the Cavaliers immediately swarmed their star guard after the final buzzer. They showered him with all the water from their bench. It’s the celebration the 26-year-old deserves after putting on one of the best individual performances in Cavalier history.
Donovan Mitchell’s Epic Night
The game in question wasn’t even supposed to be that close if it weren’t for Mitchell’s on-court heroics. The basketball experts at OKBET didn’t think the Cavs could come back after the first half ended with a 65-47 scoreline for the Bulls.
However, Mitchell’s hot shooting managed to keep the Cavaliers in the game. His relentless scoring from the three-point line and in the paint helped to chip at the big lead slowly the Bulls established during the half.
Donovan Mitchell already had 40 points to his name by the time the fourth quarter came rolling in. He also did a fantastic job of keeping his teammates involved as the team’s primary ballhandler. He used his superior slashing to get his teammates open and supply them with easy makes.
Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan did everything they could to seal the win for the Bulls. The two played great basketball, ending the night with 26 and 44 points, respectively. Unfortunately for them, Mitchell was able to tie the game and force overtime.
From that point on, the game’s momentum was swinging in favor of the Cavs. The Bulls tried to stem the tide, but Mitchell made 13 of the 15 points the Cavaliers scored in the extra period to win the game, 134-145.
Donovan Mitchell had a great stat line to complement his historic shooting night. He finished with eight rebounds, 11 assists, and a block in 50 minutes of action. Spida also made 65% of his shot attempts while sinking seven three-pointers.
Mitchell’s Exciting Year in CLE
While Donovan Mitchell’s departure from the Utah Jazz was an open secret, fans were blindsided when the star guard was shipped off to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Many thought he’d end up on the New York Knicks since he grew up in Elmsford, NY. However, the trade package the Jazz got saw them ship the star to his new home without even waiting for the Knicks to make a counteroffer.
Cavaliers fans were excited to finally get a superstar of Mitchell’s quality. While he’s not at the level of LeBron James, he gives a squad with fantastic players the opportunity to make a deep playoff run.
But while fans were expecting Mitchell to ball out, few thought he’d enjoy his first year away from Salt Lake City this much. His debut campaign for the Cavs is also his career-best year at 28.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.6 APG, 1.5 SPG, 48% FG, and 41% 3P%.
Mitchell revealed that one of the biggest reasons he’s playing so well with the Cavs is nothing to do with the court.
He told Andscape’s Marc J. Spears that while he’s been a bright spot for Utah over the past five seasons, he hasn’t done enough for the Jazz to retire his jersey number. Moreover, he felt he didn’t feel as welcomed in SLC as he did in Cleveland.
He also noted that while his partnership with Rudy Gobert didn’t work out, he didn’t bear any ill will toward his former teammate. He understood that they didn’t mesh well as basketball players. Meanwhile, he’s thriving with the current crop of teammates he got.
On the other hand, the Jazz got a solid cornerstone in the Mitchell trade in the form of Lauri Markkanen. Looking at how things fare, both teams won their trades.
Is Donovan Mitchell Assured of an All-Star Spot?
Donovan Mitchell would be assured of an All-Star selection if it were any other year. Mitchell is playing his best statistical season in a new system that wasn’t exactly built for him. He’s also helping the Cavs win tough games. His 71-point effort against the Bulls showcases his importance to his team.
However, this season is seeing historic performances out of multiple key players. He’s only the eighth-highest player on the PPG list this season. Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic are also stealing most of the spotlight with their ridiculous play.
Fortunately, Cavs fans aren’t hesitating in letting their star guard know how much they love him. They’ll be hoping for another Finals appearance with Mitchell at the helm.
And given how things are going, Mitchell will want to do that, too.