Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell scored the most points in a single NBA regular-season game since Kobe Bryant dropped 81 points in 2006.
Mitchell put the Cavaliers on his back and dropped 71 points in the team’s overtime victory against the Chicago Bulls on Monday. He helped Cleveland force overtime when he recovered his own intentional foul-shot miss and put the ball back into the hoop to tie the game. He then had a few more buckets in the overtime period to secure the 145-134 victory.
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“To be there in the record book with guys like Wilt is truly humbling,” the star guard said after the game. “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.”
Mitchell’s mark tied David Robinson and Elgin Baylor who hit 71 points in 1994 and 1960 respectively. Wilt Chamberlain scored 72 or more points five times, including his 100-point game in 1962. David Thompson scored 73 points in 1978. Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker had 70 points in 2017.
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“It’s humbling,” he added when it was mentioned he was alongside the greats with his performance. “I’m speechless. For me, not only did I do that, but I did it an effort when we came back and won and it’s how we won. It’s nuts.”
Mitchell also offered his condolences to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium. Hamlin was in critical condition after he collapsed in the first quarter of the game.
“Prayers up for the Bills safety. I had heard about it but didn’t see it. I wish him and his family. … we’re praying for ‘em, all of us in the locker room,” he said.
Cleveland moved to 24-14 with the victory and the Bulls fell to 16-21.
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Bulls star DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 44 points. Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and 13 rebounds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.