One of the biggest reasons behind the Cleveland Cavaliers’ emergence into a legitimate playoff contender during the 2022-23 season was the addition of Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell gave the Cavs a reliable scoring option on a nightly basis, forming a lethal backcourt with Darius Garland. In a season full of highs for both Mitchell and the Cavs, there was no better moment for the 26-year old shooting guard than his 71-point explosion against the Chicago Bulls a day after New Year’s.
With the 2023 offseason in full swing, the official NBA Twitter account posted the highlight reel of Mitchell’s career night in a 145-134 Cavs victory. And Mitchell, not letting the cool gesture go unnoticed, responded, quote tweeting NBA’s post and reminding the world of what a marvelous bucket-getter he is.
“7️⃣1️⃣🕷️,” Mitchell wrote.
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) August 4, 2023
That last emoji, of course, is an ode to Donovan Mitchell’s moniker, “Spida”. But his flamethrowing exploits back on January 2 would make even Peter Parker jealous.
In scoring 71 points, Mitchell set the Cavs franchise record for most points scored in a single game. He also earned the distinction of scoring the most point in a game since the late great Kobe Bryant’s 81-point outburst in 2006, beating Devin Booker’s 70-piece in 2017. And to top it all off, Mitchell entered rarefied air, becoming one of just eight players in history to score 70 or more, joining the likes of Bryant, Booker, Wilt Chamberlain, David Thompson, David Robinson, Elgin Baylor, and Damian Lillard.
And the Cavs, on that fateful night, needed all those buckets from Donovan Mitchell. The Cavs trailed the Bulls by 18 at the halftime intermission of that contest, necessitating an explosion from Spida to match DeMar DeRozan’s stellar game in his own right. Mitchell scored 55 of his 71 points in the second half as the Cavs rallied from as many as 21 points down, with 37 of those points coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Even though the Cavs’ 2022-23 campaign didn’t end in the best of notes, that should not put a damper on how awesome of a moment this was in what, by all accounts, was a successful season. The Cavs fans will be anticipating more of these incredible performances from Donovan Mitchell as they try to learn from their heartbreaking first-round exit.