Donovan Mitchell’s 71-point outburst against the Chicago Bulls on Monday night (Jan. 2) caught the attention of the sports world, with pundits and fans marveling at the historic performance. Yet, the showing may have appeared a bit too good to be true for NBA execs, as the league drug-tested Mitchell and the rest of his Cleveland Cavalier teammates the following day (Jan. 3).
Mitchell, who’s play was largely responsible with helping the Cavs come back from a 21-point deficit against their divisional rivals to win in overtime, shared news of the drug test while responding to teammate Robin Lopez on social media. “Andddd just like that we are drug tested this morning,” the 26-year-old wrote above a tweet in which Lopez jokingly attributed his lone point of the night to bringing he and Mitchell’s combined scoring line to 72.
While some fans may have believed Mitchell was referring to Lopez’s joke as being grounds for a drug test, according to ESPN, the All-Star shooting guard and the rest of the Cavs players were actually subjected to random tests for PEDs. Under the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, NBA players are required to take up to four random tests for PEDs during the season and two additional tests during the offseason. Whether coincidental or not, the thought that Spida’s performance would elicit such a reaction from the league gives the circumstances surrounding it even more character.
The former Utah Jazz star’s 71 points marks the most scored by an NBA player since late NBA icon Kobe Bryant’s 81-point showing against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. The lofty tally was also achieved in an efficient manner, with Mitchell shooting 22-of-34 from the field, with 7 of 15 3-pointers made. In addition to his scoring, he also pulled in eight rebounds and dished out 11 assists, accounting for 99 points for the Cavs, the most by any NBA player since Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962. Mitchell’s 71 points are the most ever by a Cavalier in a single game and eclipsed LeBron James’ previous record of 57 points.