Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell wasn’t going to fully play the role of bystander even with the fate of the game out of his hands.
So, Mitchell turned toward playing some mental warfare with Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams at the free-throw line with 0.8 seconds left in regulation and having two chances to break a deadlock.
This strategy from Mitchell ended up paying off. Williams, who was caught on the NBC Sports Boston broadcast telling Mitchell he would hit both freebies, clanged the two attempts off the rim to send the contest into overtime, where the Cavaliers went on to secure a 118-114 win at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
According to The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, Mitchell revealed to reporters following the game that he told Williams he should miss one free throw so the two would have something to talk about on a Players Association call — Williams and Mitchell serve on the organization’s executive committee together — on Thursday.
But Mitchell got more than what he asked for.
“And he gave us both,” Mitchell said, per Himmelsbach.
Mitchell and Williams sure will have something to talk about on that call now and if Williams doesn’t want to speak about the free throws, the discussion could shift toward how Mitchell has repeatedly torched the Celtics this season.
The 26-year-old guard netted a game-high 40 points to go along with 11 rebounds and four assists. It was the third time this season Mitchell has put up at least 40 points against Boston, including a 44-point effort last week.
“He causes issues for everybody,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters, per NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage. “So, if somebody has an answer for that let me know.”