Andddd just like that we are drug tested this morning 😂😂😂 https://t.co/LvlbcPDucP
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) January 3, 2023
Mitchell was terrific in Cleveland’s overtime win, hitting 22 of his 34 shot attempts and seven of his 15 shots from beyond the arc on his way to a career-high scoring night.
The Cavs needed every last one of Mitchell’s buckets to force overtime and eventually take down a pesky Bulls team. Mitchell didn’t just score, finishing the game with eight rebounds and 11 assists. He helped generate 99 points for the Cavs in the win.
Most total points created in a single game in NBA history:
1. Wilt Chamberlain: 104 (100 points and 2 assists)
2. Donovan Mitchell: 99 (71 points and 11 assists)
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) January 3, 2023
It may be a coincidence that the NBA tested Mitchell following the best scoring game of his career, but it certainly feels like interesting timing by the league.
Mitchell has been terrific for the Cavs since coming over in a trade this offseason with the Utah Jazz. While Cleveland gave up a lot to acquire Mitchell (Collin Sexton, forward Lauri Markkanen, 2022 first-round pick Ochai Agbaji, three unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps), it has paid off.
The Cavs are currently the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, but they are just 2.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for the top spot.
Mitchell, a three-time All-Star, looks well on his way to securing another All-Star selection and potentially an All-NBA nod as well. He is averaging 29.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game while shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from beyond the arc in the 2022-23 campaign.
He’s fit in very well alongside Darius Garland in the backcourt, and he’s also been able to carry the team when the All-Star guard has been out of the lineup.
Garland has missed eight games this season, but the Cavs are a perfect 8-0 in those matchups. A ton of credit goes to Mitchell for this, as he’s assumed the role of the team’s primary ball-handler when Garland sits.
Even though his big scoring game earned him a drug test from the league, Mitchell is looking to continue his strong play for the Cavs to help them get back to the postseason in the 2022-23 campaign. Cleveland just missed the playoffs last season, losing twice in the play-in tournament to finish outside of the top eight teams in the conference.