CLEVELAND — Quin Snyder has been meticulous in his preparation for events like this. Well, maybe not 71 like that. But the game online, you have to have moments when the shooter on the free throw line controls the result. Donovan Mitchell practiced some variations of it at least once a month with Snyder in Utah.
Mitchell prefers the high miss aft of the rim over the line drive up front. The line drive is too unpredictable. He can go places he doesn’t want to go. On Monday, the ball went exactly where Mitchell directed it for the entire 53 minutes, so of course he followed orders during the most important moment of the night.
Mitchell did something Monday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse that has never been done in NBA history: 71 points and 11 assists. No player has ever scored so many and managed so many assists. Add it together and Mitchell had 99 points in the Cavs’ 145-134 overtime win over the Bulls.
He is the sixth player to score at least 71 in a game. Neither Michael Jordan nor LeBron James is on this list.
“In 15 years, that’s the best performance I’ve ever seen,” said Kevin Love, who played alongside LeBron and Kyrie Irving for four years at this building. Neither has ever done anything like this. Love saw Irving score 55 points here against Portland and 57 in overtime at San Antonio. Mitchell scored 55 goals after halftime on Monday.
On a night the Cavs were without Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, and in a game that began with Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff believing the Bulls would try to force the ball out of Mitchell’s hands, Mitchell was in control.
“I have never witnessed such a performance live,” Bickerstaff said. “We were treated to one of the greatest performances in NBA history tonight.”
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) January 3, 2023
But 71 isn’t possible without overtime, which isn’t possible without the witchcraft voodoo magic that Mitchell performed on the line at the end of the settlement. Of all the dazzling and dizzying shots he took on Monday, it was the one he took under the ledge that was the most spectacular for me. He got the ball in the basket 42 times on Monday (22 field goals, 20 free throws), but it was the one he missed — intentionally, of course — that made everything else possible.
The Bulls, who once led by 21, wisely fouled Mitchell before he could take a shot with 4.4 seconds left and the Cavs trailed 130-127. Mitchell made the first free throw before his Utah instincts kicked in and the fire drill began. Everyone upstairs and in the building knew he had to intentionally miss the second shot. Love started walking to the basket to line up for the rebound, but Mitchell redirected him to the 3-point line. He wanted Love there as a safety, so if Mitchell lost his carom balance, at least he could send him back to another shooter at the buzzer.
Mitchell looked at the bench and called Robin Lopez. So Andre Drummond checked in for Chicago. Lopez is 7 feet tall. Drummond is 6-11. Jarrett Allen is 6-9. Suddenly, there was 21 feet of meat positioned under the basket for the rebound, and then “little” 6-5 Zach LaVine. The Bulls didn’t have another big one to match the Cavs, which was important. Mitchell eventually beat them all to the ball.
Mitchell knew Chicago didn’t really have two big runs to match Lopez and Allen. So he threw the shot high to LaVine’s side and in one motion sprinted past, circled around the Bulls’ Patrick Williams like he was a parking cone, jumped high in the air, grabbed the ball and knocked him off the glass before crashing to the floor.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) January 3, 2023
He practiced it all the time in Utah, first with Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, then with Hassan Whiteside and Gobert. The Cavs worked on it once in Toronto, and when Mitchell continued to reference Toronto in the moment Monday, he thought everyone understood what he meant.
“But they just told me they had no idea what I was talking about,” Mitchell said. It didn’t matter. He did it himself.
The fact that he managed to accomplish all of this and still shoot was some kind of sorcery. The fact that he came in was magical. Because as often as he drilled it, it was the first time Mitchell could remember the game working in a game. Only possible on a night that ends in 71.
This arena will one day have LeBron, Love and Irving jerseys hanging in the rafters. Together, they played 1,708 games in a Cavs jersey, but never accomplished anything quite like what Mitchell created in his 34th game as a Cavs on Monday. He has integrated perfectly into training, the dressing room and the city since arriving here this summer. He’s closed many home games to “MVP” chants since the start of the season. But never like this. It was a sold-out crowd going wild realizing they had just experienced something few others had witnessed.
This time, Cedi Osman grabbed a microphone after the game and led the crowd in those “MVP” chants. Mitchell’s teammates swamped him with water bottles midcourt.
Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, David Robinson, Elgin Baylor and David Thompson. This was the extent of Club 71 before Mitchell slammed his way into the lane at the end of regulation. Then, finally, in the rare air of history.
(Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
We would like to say thanks to the author of this short article for this amazing material
Lloyd: Donovan Mitchell’s magical 71-point night for Cavs made possible by shot he missed – Reuters
Find here our social media accounts as well as other related pageshttps://nimblespirit.com/related-pages/