Michael Jordan never scored 70 points in a game. Neither has LeBron James. But Donovan Mitchell did Monday night, exploding for 71 against the Bulls. In doing so, Mitchell became only the seventh player in NBA history to accomplish that feat, joining a prestigious fraternity inhabited by the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, David Thompson, Elgin Baylor, David Robinson and, most recently, Suns All-Star Devin Booker in 2017.
The following morning, the 6'1" guard was subject to a “random” drug screening with league officials prompting him for a urine sample, assuming his career-best scoring output had to be the result of chemical enhancement.
This happens fairly often in other sports. For example, the NFL has hounded Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon all season, testing him for PEDs after a dominant performance against the Cardinals last month.
Mitchell’s previous high-water mark came in the opening round of the 2020 Playoffs, delivering 57 points in an overtime loss to Denver. The Cavs haven’t reached the playoffs since LeBron James’ departure in 2018, though that should change this season with Cleveland (24-14) only two games out of first place in the Eastern Conference. Much of that success can be attributed to Mitchell, who has taken his game to another level since arriving in a trade last summer, tallying a career-high 29.3 points per game on elite 49.2-percent shooting including 41.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Mitchell earned himself a well-deserved breather Tuesday, getting the night off after logging an exhausting 50 minutes in Monday night’s win. The Cavaliers have certainly gotten their money’s worth with Mitchell this year. In fact, only Pascal Siakam, Luka Doncic, Anthony Edwards, Jayson Tatum and O.G. Anunoby have averaged more minutes this season (36.7 per game). Barring injury, the 26-year-old should be a lock for next month’s All-Star Game in Utah, where Mitchell spent his first five seasons.
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