Donovan Mitchell joins NBA elite scoring 71 in Cavs 145-134 OT win over Bulls   
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - On Saturday night the Cleveland Cavaliers ended a three game winning streak with a road win against the Bulls in Chicago ending the 2022 portion of the 2022-23 season. On Monday night the Cavs opened the 2023 portion of the schedule at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse against the Bulls. Once again, the Cavs were without two starters Darius Garland and Evan Mobley for the second straight game. Garland is nursing a sore thumb while Mobley has a sore ankle. The game was not what most of the sellout crowd or anyone in attendance thought it would be as the Cavs came back from 21 points down and Donovan Mitchell scored a career high, and Cavs record 71 points as they defeated the Bulls in overtime 145-134.

The Bulls got out to a quick 9-3 advantage after Nikola Vucevic hit a hook shot from nine feet with 9:19 left on the first quarter clock. Chicago extended their lead to seven with a three-point basket by Patrick Williams with 7:30 left. After DeMar DeRozan stole the ball on a bad pass by Kevin Love who started in place of the injured Mobley the Bulls increased their lead to nine at 16-7 when Zach LaVine hit one of two free throws after getting fouled by Caris LeVert. LeVert started in place of Garland. The Cavs closed to with five at 21-16 when LeVert dropped in a breakaway layup with 5:22 left in the opening quarter. With 3:42 left the Bulls recaptured the nine-point lead at 28-19 after Derrick Jones converted an easy layup. Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff had seen enough and called a timeout. The Cavs once again pulled to within four points at 30-26 with 1:02 left in the first when Mitchell hit a long range three pointer. The Bulls responded with four points to increase their lead back to eight points. Cedi Osman hit one of two free throws with :06.3 left to close the scoring in the quarter with the Bulls leading 34-27. DeRozan led all scorers with nine points. Jarrett Allen paced the Cavs with six, Mitchell also had five points in the opening 12 minutes, as did Love. The Bulls outdid the Cavs in every major category, field goal percentage, free throws, rebounding and the Cavs committed three turnovers and the Bulls committed just one.

The Bulls took their biggest lead at the 9:32 mark of the second quarter when former Cavs Andre Drummond muscled in a layup to give the Bulls a 42-30 advantage. The Bulls continued to take advantage of the Cavs miscues. With 8:48 left in the first half the Cavs turned the ball over six times resulting in 11 points giving the Bulls a 45-30 advantage when a disgusted Bickerstaff took a timeout. The Cavs weren’t able to put any sustained runs together as the Bulls responded nearly every time the Cavs did something positive in the second and added on building the lead to 57-39 with 2:09 remaining in the half when LaVine hit his second three of the first half. With 1:50 left in the half after a questionable personal foul was called on Mitchell, Bickerstaff had seen enough giving an earful to the officials resulting in a technical foul on the Cavs floor boss. After the free throws and the technical foul shots the Bulls lead ballooned to 60-39. Bickerstaff continued to complain to each of three officials when they were within earshot for the remainder of the second period. The Cavs picked up a little momentum when Mitchell hit a long three and was fouled by Alex Caruso cutting the Bulls lead to 61-47 with :39 left in the half. But as the case had been for most of the first half the Bulls responded with a three pointer by LaVine and then Mitchell was accessed a technical foul of his own finishing off what was a rough first half for the first year Cav. The Bulls headed to the locker room with a 65-47 lead. LaVine led all scorers in the first half with 18 points. Even though Mitchell had a rough first half he still led the Cavs in scoring with 16. He shot 50% from the field but was only 3 of 7 from the foul line, picked up two personal fouls and had three of the Cavs eight turnovers. The stat sheet favored the Bulls in every possible way in the first 24 minutes. The Bulls outshot the Cavs from the field 56% to 44%, from the free throw line 81% to 64%, from three-point range 50% to 30% and out rebounded Cleveland 22-15. The Bulls bench outscored the Cavs 17-10, Chicago dominated the paint with 24 points to the Cavs 16. Finally, the Bulls forced eight Cavs turnovers resulting in 13 Bulls points. The Cavs managed just two points off two Bulls turnovers.

The third quarter began with the two team trading baskets, but the Cavs did cut the Bulls lead to 73-59 with 7:01 left when Mitchell converted two free throws. The run continued when the Cavs cut the lead to 10 when Mitchell hit a floating jumper and was fouled, cutting the Bulls lead to 75-65 with 6:11 left on the third quarter clock. Once again, the Bulls responded building the lead back 15 at 85-70 after LaVine hit a jumper, was fouled, and made the free throw. The Cavs showed some life and fight with 3:25 left Mitchell hit a floater and was fouled, cutting the Bulls lead to single digits at 85-76 with 3:25 left. The Cavs continued to cut into the Bulls lead cutting it to 89-81 with 1:59 left in the third quarter when Mitchell drained a free throw after a technical foul was charged to Bulls head coach Billy Donovan. The cutting into the Bulls lead continued after Mitchell was fouled again, drained both free throws and the Bulls lead was 91-85 with 1:20 left in the third. RMFH erupted just seconds later when Love drained a three cutting the lead two 91-88 after hitting a three pointer with :54 left. After the Bulls responded with a two-point basket Osman sent the crowd into a frenzy cutting the lead two 93-91 with a three with :32 left. The Bulls scored the final three points of the third to take a 96-91 lead into the final 12 minutes. The Cavs outscored the Bulls 44-31 in the third period led by Mitchell who scored 24 of the Cavs 44 points in the third. He had 40 points after three quarters.

Just :41 98-91 lead Chicago fouled Mitchell behind the three-point line. Mitchell drained only two of the three but had five chances as the Bulls committed two lane violations. It seemed as though they were coming unglued. The Bull’s lead was now 98-93. The Cavs cut the lead to 102-99 when Mitchell drained a jumper for 44th points of the game with 9:21 left. The Bulls responded as they did for most of the game extending the lead back to six at 105-99 with 7:59 left when LaVine hit a jumper, was fouled, and hit the free throw. The Cavs then cut the lead back to three points on a three by Love with 6:49 left in the game. After the Bulls extended the lead back to seven at 113-106, Mitchell hit a jumper to cut the lead to 113-108. After a missed free throw and a defensive stand Allen slammed home a dunk and was fouled. Allen missed the free throw, but the Bulls lead was down to three points at 113-110 with 4;41 remaining. With 3:26 left in the game Caruso of the Bulls was charged with his sixth personal foul with the score at 117-112 Bulls. The Bulls attempted to challenge the call but were unsuccessful sending LeVert to the line to shoot two shots. He drained them both to pull the Cavs back to three points at 117-114. DeRozan killed the Cavs all night extending the Bulls lead back to six, but LeVert responded with a three of his own again pulling the Cavs to within three points at 122-119 with 2:06 remaining. After Chicago hit a free throw and took a 123-119 lead, Mitchell scored his 55th point of the game on a three pointer with 1:29 remaining to pull the Cavs to within one point at 123-122. Just :21 later Love was fouled and hit one of two free throws tying the game 123-123 with 1:08 left. Vucevic once again came up clutch and hit a three pointer for the Bulls with :36.2 remaining giving Chicago a 126-123 lead. The Cavs called a timeout. The Cavs then cut the lead to one point with :22 on an Allen dunk at 126-125. After the Cavs intentionally fouled Ayo Dosunmu with :18.6 remaining in regulation he hit both free throws to give Chicago a 128-125 lead. The Cavs responded with an Allen dunk to cut the Chicago lead to 128-127 with :08.9 left in regulation. Chicago called a timeout. The Cavs then fouled with :07.2 left on the clock sending Coby White to the line. White drained both free throws giving Chicago a 130-127 lead. The Bulls fouled Mitchell he had two shots with :04.7 remaining. Mitchell missed the second and then falling to ground Mitchell threw a prayer in the basket, it was answered, and the Cavs tied the game 130-130 with :03.0 remaining in regulation sending the game to overtime. Mitchell ended regulation with 58 points a new Cavaliers record. He scored 42 of those points in the second half. Through regulation DeRozan had 42 for the Bulls. 
With :36 gone in regulation Mitchell scored his 61st point on a three giving the Cavs their first lead of the game 133-130. With the Mitchell three being the only scoring in OT with 2:52 left the Cavs had the ball and took a timeout. Shortly after the timeout with 2:38 left Allen pulled down a rebound and slammed it home giving the Cavs a 135-30 lead. After a Chicago miss Mitchell took the ball down the court on a fastbreak and put it in the hoop for his 63rd points of the game extending the Cavs lead to 137-130 with 2:19 left. For good measure and to seal the Cavs win Mitchell scored his 66th point of the game on a three pointer that got nothing but net to give the Cavs a commanding 140-130 lead with 1:49 remaining in the overtime period. The Bulls finally scored in the OT when DeRozan hit a jumper with 1:05 left on the OT clock. Mitchell decided he wasn’t done as he drained his 69th point with his seventh three pointer of the game with :44 left in OT giving the Cavs a 143-132 lead. The Bulls fouled Mitchell sending him to the line. He drained both putting him in rarified air with 71 points. Mitchell is only the 7th player in NBA history to eclipse the 70-point mark. The feat has been achieved 12 times. Wilt Chamberlain (6 times), Kobe Bryant (1), David Thompson (1), Elgin Baylor (1), David Robinson (1) and Devin Booker (1) are the others to achieve the magical 70-point mountain.

With the win the Cavaliers improve to 24-14 and move back into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavs will be back in action next on Wednesday night at RMFH when the Phoenix Suns (20-17) make their only visit during the regular season. Game time is 7 p.m.
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​POSTED 01/03/2023 00:24
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Lake County Sentinel
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Cavaliers Guard Donovan Mitchell.                                   Photo by Tommy Shirer