Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James had a memorable Monday night as he posted his second consecutive 40-point performance since turning 38 years old. But at the end of the night, he was overshadowed thanks to the unbelievable outing by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell.
Mitchell finished with 71 points in the Cavaliers’ overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday, the most anyone has scored since Lakers legend Kobe Bryant dropped 81 on the Toronto Raptors back in 2006. Mitchell became the seventh player in NBA history to score 70 points or more, but the first to do so with 10 assists as well.
Obviously news of a performance of that nature gets shared quickly and James was asked about Mitchell’s 71-point performance. LeBron hadn’t seen it yet as the Lakers had only just finished playing, but he had nothing but praise for Mitchell’s outstanding night, via NBA.com:
“Well I haven’t seen clips of the game yet, but obviously a guy had to be on fire. That’s tough. We’re playing a game where a lot of guys always talk about getting buckets and who’s some of the best guys that can put the ball in the hole and obviously tonight Donovan showed that he’s one of the best in our league. Any time you’re putting up 70, 60, 50, 40, you’re extremely, extremely gifted at what you do. So that’s definitely something he will never forget, his family will never forget. That’s pretty cool.”
James then went on to give Mitchell props on social media:
🕷️ you're INSANE!!!!! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 3, 2023
To score 40 or even 50 points in an NBA game is something that only so many people can ever claim to have done. But once you get in the 60 and 70-point range you are in rarified air. Mitchell has sometimes been overlooked when the best guards in the league are discussed, but as LeBron said, he showed he’s one of the best in the league.
To put yourself in a group with the likes of Lakers and NBA legends Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant and Elgin Baylor is something special and there is a reason only a handful of players have reached that level. For his part, James’ career-high is 61 points and that is the only time he dropped 60 in a game. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the all-time leading scorer, never had a 60-point game in his career.
Mitchell truly had a night he will never forget there is really nothing else to do other than show love and appreciate it, as James did. The previous Cavaliers record for points was held by both James and Kyrie Irving at 57.
LeBron James discusses differences in performing at 18 and 38 years old
While Mitchell is right in his prime at 26 years old, James just turned 38 and is still able to put forth these unreal games that the Lakers star has been doing for 20 seasons now.
Of course, what worked for LeBron at 18 doesn’t quite work at 38 and he recently spoke about the differences, noting that when you’re younger you don’t worry as much about your body and things such as getting the right amount of sleep, proper stretching, or ensuring your diet is right.
But at 38 years old everything matters and LeBron makes sure everything is in place which is why he is able to do these things at this age no one else has ever done.
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