NBA: Donovan Mitchell makes history – the 70-point scoring club

The NBA is going absolutely crazy right now – a historic performance follows one another, Nikola Jokic’s 41-15-15 games are followed by Luka Doncic with 60 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists. But now someone else has made history – and recorded the highest return in 17 years!

Donovan Mitchell ran incredibly hot in the overtime game against the Chicago Bulls and had 71 points. No player has scored more points since Kobe Bryant in January 2006 (81 at the time) – and there have only been three players in history who have scored more points in a game. The record is held by Wilt Chamberlain (100).

“To be in the history books with guys like Wilt is truly humbling,” Mitchell said. “I always believed I could become one of the best players in the league. I’m speechless and blessed to be named alongside players like that.”

In the best game of his career, Mitchell not only had the best points, but his 11 assists were also career best. In total, he was directly involved in 99 points for the Cavaliers, and that mark resonated Opta Statistics narrowly surpassed by Wilt in his record game (104).

“I told the guys it was the best performance I’ve seen in 15 years, and I’ve seen some special ones,” said Kevin Love, who won the 2016 championship with the Cavs. “I have Kyrie [Irving] see do 55 against Portland or LeBron [James] in Game 1 of the 2018 Finals. 57 for Kyrie at San Antonio. But this game has a price.”

Only seven players in history have crossed the magic 70 point mark, only one of them is currently still active alongside Mitchell. Neither LeBron James nor Michael Jordan was successful in their careers, but MJ, at 69, wasn’t too far off either.

The club of scorers with 70 points follows!

Devin BookerPhoenix Suns

Booker scored 70 points on March 24, 2017 with the Boston Celtics. At the tender age of 20, he was the youngest player to break that mark – but the game was not necessarily universally acclaimed. Phoenix lost significantly, in the second half he was fed almost constantly in order to continue to screw up his score. The Suns even foul on purpose to stop the clock and allow more shots for Booker.

Booker, however, was by no means ineffective. He played 45 of 48 minutes, hitting 21 of 40 from the field and 24/26 from the free throw line. There were also 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals – and he scored 51 points in the second half.

David Robinson (San Antonio Spurs)

The Admiral scored 71 points on April 24, 1994, earning the only scoring title of the season against one Shaquille O’Neal. Robinson increased his average throughout the game to 29.8 points to Shaq’s 29.3. The game is still a Spurs franchise record. He became the second player in Spurs history with a goalscoring title, the other being George Gervin.

Robinson’s stat line then: 26/41 from the field, 18/25 from the free-throw line in 44 minutes of play. It was a bit strange that his teammates almost had to force Robinson to take all the throws – his team probably wanted the record a little more than himself. His competitor Shaq also laughed at it at the end.

“[Der Scoring-Titel] would have been nice, but 50 wins was more important to me. I heard they direct all the plays for him. If that had happened here too, I would have scored 70 points. I didn’t care,” the Magic Center said at the time.

Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers)

71 points on Jan. 2, 2022. Enjoy again, Mitchell’s stats: 71 points, 22/34 FG, 7/15 3FG, 20/25 FT, 11 assists, 8 rebounds in 50 minutes…all in a win after 17 points behind, where every point was urgently needed. To paraphrase Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff, “one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of our sport.”

Elgin Baylor (Los Angeles Lakers)

On November 15, 1960, Baylor scored the most points in an NBA game at the time, 71. The record didn’t last long, but nobody knew it at the time. Baylor presented their masterpiece in an away win in New York and caused great astonishment among all the spectators.

“It’s the best individual performance I’ve ever seen,” said Knicks president Ned Irish, who a few weeks earlier had tried to broker a trade for Baylor. “Baylor is irreplaceable,” replied Lakers coach Fred Schaus, who did not want to negotiate for a minute.

His stats: 28/48 from the field, 15/19 from the free throw line, 25 rebounds! He only had one assist, but it was New York PostJournalist Leonard Koppett explains: “His teammates missed easy shots after perfect passes. If they had scored, he could easily have gotten 10 assists.”

David Thompson (Denver Nuggets)

Skywalker was one of only three players who could top Mitchell’s 71: Michael Jordan’s idol scored 73 points on April 9, 1978. Like Robinson, it was the season’s top scorer crown, but unlike Robinson, Thompson lost his “long range duel” – to Gervin, who played later in the day and had 63 points.

This April 9 could have been one of the greatest NBA moments of all time – but there is no video material from either game. Shame! On the other hand: “To my knowledge, there has never been such a tight race again, and there is no video. It’s a shame, of course, but you still talk about it, I’m still talk about it, and so it will never be forgotten,” said Gervin Times in the SPOX interview. Also again.

Thompson stats: 73 points, 28/38 FG, 17/20 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 43 minutes. Gervin then only needed 33 minutes for his 63 points. What a day.

Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)

Just weeks earlier, Kobe had 62 points against the Mavericks but was substituted after three quarters because the game was already over and he probably thought there would be other opportunities. Then there was that too. On January 22, 2006, Bryant’s feat followed, 81 points against Toronto and the second-highest point total in an NBA game to date.

The game was so outstanding that even some of the players wanted Mamba’s autographs afterwards – understandably. His numbers: 81 points, 28/46 FG, 7/13 3FG, 18/20 FT, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals in 42 minutes… Top scorer among his teammates: The legendary Smush Parker (13).

Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia Warriors)

Let’s be honest: this list could also be called the “Wilt and a few others” list. There have been eleven 70-point games in history, Chamberlain had half of them (five) until Mitchell night. Once 72, twice 73, once 78…and then of course the number with the two zeros – the highest scoring game in NBA history.

It was March 2, 1962 (in a season in which Wilt was averaging 50 points) when the Warriors met the Knicks at Hershey Sports Arena in Pennsylvania. Chamberlain played (as usual) and scored 100 points, hitting 36/63 from the field and an uncharacteristic 28/32 from the free throw line…and grabbing 25 rebounds along the way.

You can read all about the NBA’s all-time record game here! Will this mark fall in each case?

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