April 26 (UPI) — LeBron James strung together two sensational plays, helping the Cleveland Cavaliers win Game 5 in their first round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers.
“King James” made the crucial plays in the final five seconds of the 98-95 win Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Cavaliers and Pacers were tied 95-95 in the dwindling seconds of the fourth quarter. Pacers star Victor Oladipo dribbled near half-court, stalking the Cavaliers’ defense and planning his next move.
James switched onto the Pacers guard. Oladipo darted toward the 3-point line, before juking James and running into the paint. He went to the left of the rim, trying to escape James’ trailing defense.
Oladipo put up a shot, but James slammed the ball against the backboard for a block. Oladipo begged referees for a goaltending call, but it never came. James immediately called timeout, securing the ball for the Cavaliers’ final possession.
The next play added a page in James’ storied career. James took an inbound pass off of the right baseline. He drew defense from 6-foot-8 Pacers forward Thaddeus Young.
Young used his long arms to close on James, but the four-time NBA MVP wasn’t bothered. He picked up his dribbled and launched a shot from beyond the 3-point line. The final buzzer sounded as the ball flew through the air. James sank the shot, giving the Cavaliers a playoff victory and a 3-2 lead in the series.
”He does it at both ends every single night,” Cavaliers forward Kevin Love told reporters. ”That’s why he’s the best player in the world.”
“King James” scored a game-high 44 points and had 10 rebounds and eight assists. Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 22 points. Oladipo had 12 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in the loss.
”As a kid you always have those 3, 2, 1 moments and that’s what it kind of felt like,” James said. ”I felt like I was a kid all over again playing basketball at my house on makeshift hoops and my socks as a basketball.”