For a moment during the All-Star Game, things just started clicking for Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell. After an impressive performance, Mitchell finished with 40 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds — an eye-popping stat line by any typical indicator.
But it wasn’t quite enough for Mitchell to land All-Star MVP honors. Instead, the award went to Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum, who finished with a game-high 55 points, six assists, and 10 rebounds.
After the game, Mitchell confirmed what many guessed by watching the performance: he and Tatum both were going for the MVP award.
“We were talking about it,” Mitchell said of himself and Tatum, per CavsNation. “Alright let’s go get it, Donovan Mitchell shared during the postgame press conference. “And at the end of the day, he caught fire. And it’s all love.”
Mitchell shouldn’t be too unhappy with his performance. After all, he’s the lone Cavalier representative at this year’s midseason game.
Mitchell Shatters Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Record
Perhaps even more impressive than Mitchell’s near-MVP finish was his stat line compared to Cavaliers’ legends of yore.
Mitchell’s 40 points shattered Cleveland’s previous All-Star record, a stat especially impressive when one considers the litany of scorers the Cavaliers have sent to the game in the past: LeBron James, Kevin Love, Brad Dougherty, Mark Price, Kyrie Irving, and so on.
It’s not the first time this season that Mitchell has eviscerated a Cavaliers scoring record. Back in January, Mitchell erupted for 71 points, setting a franchise record for points scored in a game. It was also the most points any individual player had netted since Kobe Bryant’s 81 for the Lakers back in 2002.
That performance is also emblematic of the success Mitchell’s debut season with Cleveland has so far been. Cleveland is fifth in a competitive Eastern Conference, with a top-ten defense and offense thanks in no small part to Mitchell’s heroics.
Mitchell Discusses MVP Candidates This Season
Speaking of MVPs, Mitchell tossed out several names of players he believes should be getting some MVP buzz this season. The first is none other than reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic.
According to Mitchell, Jokic has once again set the bar so high with regard to what a player can (and shouldn’t be) capable of:
“I don’t know if you’ve all been watching what Jokic’s been doing. It’s f****** outrageous, to be honest. I don’t know how many people have won it 3 times in a row, but he’s otherworldly right now.”
Mitchell also praised Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid, who finished runner-up to Jokic in each of the last two seasons.
“I think Joel needs to be highly regarded as well. I think he gets highly disrespected. He’s a guy that consistently, every night, puts on for his group. And even in the past year with the whole Ben (Simmons) situation, not knowing who was going to be on the floor, and he continues to carry his team. I think he deserves a lot of respect in that race (the MVP race) as well,” Mitchell said during his NBA All-Star Media Day press conference.
Mitchell, for his own part, is tenth in MVP odds according to FanDuel.