Wilt Chamberlain. Kobe Bryant.
These seem like two pretty good names to be mentioned alongside for an NBA player and that is exactly where Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell finds his name after Monday’s record-setting performance against the Chicago Bulls.
In only the second night ever for legal Ohio sports betting, Mitchell lit up the Bulls in a 145-134 overtime win. He put up a phenomenal 71 points to go along with 11 assists and eight rebounds.
Wilt Still Dominates
The 70-point barrier is not one that gets surpassed often in the NBA, as Mitchell became just the seventh player ever to do so, recording the 12th 70-point game in league history.
Chamberlain has a mind-blowing six of those games, including his magical 100-point outing against the New York Knicks in 1962. To put that into perspective, no other player has more than one 70-point game and the legendary Kobe Bryant has the next highest total with 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006, still 19 off the record set by Chamberlain.
Here is the list of all-time games in the NBA of 70 or more points:
Mitchell Feat and Place in Cavs History
Mitchell’s performance was the highest scoring since Devin Booker’s 70 in March 2017. Mitchell got off to a relatively slow start in the game, certainly not inspiring thoughts of a record-setting performance after a 16-point first half.
The Cavaliers were down, 65-47, at halftime and needed a legendary performance to get back into the game.
That is exactly what Mitchell delivered.
It started in the third quarter, as he put up 24 points. Then, already with 15 points in the fourth quarter, Mitchell stepped up to the free throw line with his team trailing by three and less than five seconds left on the clock.
Mitchell drained his first free throw before intentionally missing his second, setting himself up to grab his own rebound and make the field goal to tie the game and send it to OT. Mitchell added his final 13 points of the game in overtime as the Cavaliers managed an 11-point victory and Mitchell etched his name in the team’s history books.
The previous game-high for points by a Cavalier was unsurprisingly held by franchise legend LeBron James at 57. Kyrie Irving shared that record with LeBron, whose name is littered across the franchise’s record book.
Trade Has Been Huge Boost for Cavs
Mitchell, acquired by the Cavaliers in a blockbuster offseason trade, obliterated that record less than halfway into his first season with the Cavs. The addition of Mitchell, 25, was huge for Cleveland. It gave the Cavs hope of contending in a loaded NBA Eastern Conference. Most sportsbooks, like bet365 Sportsbook Ohio, viewed Cleveland as a legitimate contender after the Mitchell acquisition.
Mitchell certainly has done his part thus far with Cleveland. The Cavs head into Wednesday night’s contest with Phoenix only two games back of the conference-leading Boston Celtics.
With Mitchell on the roster, the Cavaliers entered the season at +3000 to win the league championship, months before Ohio sports betting apps launched.
After their strong start Cleveland is now found at +2000 on BetMGM.Ohio. (Look for BetMGM Ohio bonus codes as well as those of the other operators in the state.).
Mitchell currently has odds of +3500 at BetMGM to win the newly titled Michael Jordan Trophy awarded to the league's MVP.
Mitchell will need to carry forward the momentum from his record-setting game if he hopes to win the award. There is a very clear top four with Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and two-time defending champion Nikola Jokic all +500 or lower on the odds board.
A combination of Mitchell continuing to pile up points as well as the Cavaliers continuing to win games and climb up the NBA standings should keep moving him closer to this group of four.
As far as historical performances go, Mitchell’s 71-point outing was one of the best in NBA history. The NBA has seen plenty of high-scoring individual performances already this year, with 87 40-point games recorded less than halfway through the season. That is closing rapidly on last year's total of 119.
With this continued rise in scoring, it takes a truly special outing to set yourself apart and Mitchell did just that with his scintillating game.
BetOhio.com will be following the Cavaliers and all the major sports teams as it covers legal wagering. The site also is a great source for Ohio sportsbook promos.