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NBA: Cavs' Donovan Mitchell Committed Lane Violation on Putback to Force OT vs. Bulls

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 3, 2023

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots against Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
AP Photo/Ron Schwane

Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Donovan Mitchell committed a lane violation en route to his putback layup after a purposely missed free throw to force overtime in his team's 145-134 win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday, per the NBA's Last Two Minute report.

Cleveland Cavaliers @cavs

YOU WATCHING THIS??!! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LetEmKnow?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LetEmKnow</a> <a href="https://t.co/U5CWlRj7oT">pic.twitter.com/U5CWlRj7oT</a>

The comment from the league reads as follows: "Mitchell (CLE) steps over the plane of the free throw line before the ball touches the basket ring."

The play happened with the Cavs down 130-128 to the Bulls with 4.4 seconds remaining. Mitchell hit the first free throw before sprinting into the key to grab the board, hit the bucket and send the game to an extra session.

Mitchell scored 13 points in overtime to give himself a career-high 71, marking just the 12th time in NBA history that a player has cleared at least 70 points.

The lane violation will ultimately be a footnote of one of the greatest single-game performances in recent memory.

NBA @NBA

71 PTS<br>8 REB<br>11 AST<br>W<br><br>Donovan Mitchell sets a new scoring record for the Cleveland Cavaliers and becomes only the 7th player in NBA history to score 70+ points in a game. <a href="https://t.co/qbOwr3sqyH">pic.twitter.com/qbOwr3sqyH</a>

Mitchell shot 22-of-34 overall, 7-of-15 from three-point range and 20-of-25 from the free-throw line. He fell just two rebounds short of a triple-double thanks to 11 assists and eight boards. Mitchell ended up playing 50 of a possible 53 minutes as well.

Mitchell is now averaging 29.3 points per game, good enough for seventh in the NBA. He and the Cavs are excelling in his first season with the team after he spent five years with the Utah Jazz.

Cleveland is fourth in the Eastern Conference at 24-14, just 2.5 games behind the Boston Celtics.

The former Louisville star has evolved into one of the game's deadliest scorers this year, and he's also putting his name into the NBA MVP and All-NBA First Team conversations as well, even if there's a loaded field for those honors. Ultimately, Mitchell is playing at an elite level as the Cavs look to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2018.