By BRIAN DULIK | Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored an NBA season-high and franchise-record 71 points -- equaling the eighth-most in a game in history -- as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied from 21 down to beat the Chicago Bulls 145-134 in overtime on Monday night.
It was the highest-scoring game since Lakers legend Kobe Bryant had 81 points against Toronto on Jan. 22, 2006. Wilt Chamberlain owns the NBA record with 100 for Philadelphia against New York on March 2, 1962, at Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Mitchell scored 13 points in the extra session after forcing OT by grabbing his own intentionally missed free throw and making a circus-shot with 3.0 seconds left, tying the game at 130-all and breaking the Cavaliers record with 58 points.
“I’ve never been witness to a performance like that live.” said Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff. “We were treated tonight to one of the greatest performances in the history of the NBA.”
In OT, Mitchell become the 12th player to score 70. The former Utah Jazz standout also had a career-high tying 11 assists and eight rebounds in 50 minutes, also setting career highs with 20 free throws made and 25 free throws attempted.
Mitchell went 22 of 34 from the field and made 7 of 15 3-pointers in carrying the Cavaliers, who were without All-Star guard Darius Garland (right thumb sprain) and forward Evan Mobley (right ankle soreness) for the second straight game.
“Every single play that he made was a play that was necessary,” Bickerstaff said.
DeMar DeRozan scored 44 points, Zach LeVine had 26 points and Nikola Vucevic added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Chicago, which did not trail in regulation.
Mitchell put Cleveland ahead for the first time -- the only lead change of the game – by burying a 3-pointer to open OT. The previous Cavaliers record of 57 points was shared by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
The Central Division foes met for the second time in three days. Cleveland was the 103-102 winner at United Center on Dec. 31.
Mitchell entered the new year in an offensive funk, averaging 17.5 points over the previous four games while shooting 32.9% on 73 field goal attempts. He now ranks ninth in the NBA with a 28.0 scoring average. “A lot of teams are sending a lot more bodies at him, and that’s on us to help him,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s on his teammates to recognize they have to make teams pay and make plays.”
Bulls: G Javonte Green (right knee soreness) was unavailable after appearing in the previous three games. Green has missed nine total games with the injury and will undergo a thorough examination Tuesday in Chicago. “He was making some headway, then it flared up again,” coach Billy Donovan said. … G Lonzo Ball (left knee surgery), who last played on Jan. 14, is lightly jogging and doing limited on-court work.
Cavaliers: Cleveland posted winning records in each of the first three months of the season for the first time since 2016-2017. The latter wrapped up a run of 16 straight winning months with All-Stars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. … G Ricky Rubio (left knee rehabilitation), F Dean Wade (left shoulder sprain) and G Dylan Windler (right ankle sprain) remain out. Rubio could return to action within two weeks.
Bulls: Visit Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
Cavaliers: Host Phoenix on Wednesday night.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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