LEBRON JAMES at post game press conference. (Kenneth D. Miller/Photo)
QUICKEN LOANS ARENA- It was a playoff game that drove the Cavs fans crazy, made the Indiana Pacers mad and added another brilliant performance to the illustrious basketball career of Cleveland’s iconic superstar LeBron James.
James’s long distance, fade away three pointer as time expired, capped his second 40 plus point performance in the series as the cavaliers defeated the Pacers 98-95 Thursday night to take a 3-2 series lead and put Indiana on the brink of elimination.
“We tried to hold it as long as we could in that possession, LeBron as ready to pre-strip, he was about to come and double, I got a step on him and seems like I was grabbed on the way to the rim, I tried to shoot a lay-up it hit the backboard he blocked it, but it was goaltend,” Pacers star guard Victor Oladipo explained to the Call & Post.
James did not see it that way.
“I definitely though it was a goaltend. Of course I didn’t think it was a goaltend,” James quipped when I asked him the question. “I try to make plays like that all of the time, he made a heck of a move. He leaned right and I went left and I just tried to use my recovery speed and I was trying to just make a play and I trust what I’ve always worked on.”
As for the shot, James answered: “Being a kid you always have one of those three-two-one moments and that’s what it kinda felt like. Felt like I was a kid all over again. Playing basketball at my house with makeshift hoops, using my socks as a basketball and making the noise…that’s what it felt like.”
However for the capacity crowd, it was oh no and then oh yeah as the anticipation of whether or not this will be James last season in Cleveland.
James finished with 44 points 10 rebounds and 8 assist, Kyle Korver was a marksmanship 19, and including 5 of 9 on threes and Kevin Love added 11 for the Cavs. JR Smith went scoreless on 0 for 8 shooting but his defense was again spectacular.
Meanwhile the Pacers got two abysmal outing form its starting backcourt of Oladipo and Darren Collision (1 of 5 for 4 points) both going a combined 3 of 20 on the night. Oladipo finished with 12 points.
The series shifts to Indianapolis on Friday when the Pacers try to stave off another first round elimination from a LeBron James lead team in the playoffs.