Donovan Mitchell’s 71-point performance on Monday night didn’t come without a cost.
The Cleveland Cavaliers star was hit with a performance-enhancing drug test on Tuesday, he said on Twitter. The team confirmed the test to ESPN.
Andddd just like that we are drug tested this morning 😂😂😂 https://t.co/LvlbcPDucP
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) January 3, 2023
Now, tests are a normal occurrence for players through the league. They are usually hit with four random PED tests during the season, and then two more during the offseason. The key word there, though, is random.
While there’s no real way to prove otherwise, a test coming just hours after Mitchell’s historic performance certainly doesn’t feel random — which is likely why Mitchell found it so funny.
Mitchell led the Cavaliers back from a 21-point hole to beat the Chicago Bulls in overtime on Monday night with his franchise-record 71 points. That marked the most scored in a single game in the league since Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant dropped 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. Mitchell’s performance was the eighth-highest scoring game in league history, and the most scored by anyone this season.
"It's humbling. I'm speechless to be honest with you when you say that," Mitchell said. "I think for me, not only did I do that but I did it in an effort where we came back and won. And it's how we won. That's really what, for me, it's like man, this is nuts ... I'm extremely blessed, humbled that I'm in that company, in that group."
NBA: Donovan Mitchell's 71 points shouldn't have happened
Though it can't be rescinded, the NBA said on Tuesday that Mitchell's 71-point performance shouldn't have actually happened.
Mitchell sent the game into overtime after he purposefully missed a free throw and tipped it back in in the final seconds on Monday night. The sequence was incredible.
OH MY GOD DONOVAN MITCHELL
What just happened pic.twitter.com/A9A9FIAsSi
— Will Gottlieb (@Will_Gottlieb) January 3, 2023
Yet on Wednesday, the NBA said that Mitchell actually stepped into the foul lane early — which should have voided his basket and given the Bulls the win.
"One, it's a clear violation," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said after the game. "Unequivocally, he's crossing the line on the basket before the ball ever touches the rim. That's the first thing ... And he just shot it and really kind of beat Patrick. And I think part of the reason why he beat Patrick is because he went in there too early."
The NBA is right: Donovan Mitchell, it turns out, was in the lane early last night on his incredible OT-forcing score. pic.twitter.com/grwvWuWILP
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) January 4, 2023
But, as that wasn't called in the moment, there's nothing that can be done.
Mitchell then dropped 13 points in overtime to get to 71 and take the win.