Nothing changes the fact that Donovan Mitchell had one of the great all-time games on Tuesday when the Cavaliers’ guard went off for 71 points in one of the most incredible individual performances in team history.
That greatness isn’t up for debate, but the nature of how Cleveland got to overtime is raising questions. Bulls coach Billy Donovan believes the game-defining play was caused on a lane violation, which resulted in Mitchell scoring just before the buzzer, forcing the game to overtime. There is a screenshot of the moment in question, and on the surface there’s little doubt that Mitchell did advance into the lane early.
When the game hit overtime the Bulls were spent. Cleveland out-scored Chicago 14-5 in overtime, cruising to a 145-134 win. More than one game, the moment could have had longer lasting ramifications the Cavaliers win moved them to 4th place in the East, while the Bulls are now struggling even more, locked in 11th. That’s of importance especially for the Bulls, who are doing major soul searching after being pegged to be one of the most dominant teams in the NBA this season and failing to live up to expectations.
It didn’t stop Robin Lopez from noting that he and Mitchell had a hell of a night.
I'm going to get it out of the way and point out that Donovan Mitchell and Robin Lopez combined for 72 tonight. Hashtag Historic Game.— Robin Lopez (@rolopez42) January 3, 2023
Just beautiful stuff.