Breaking news: having LeBron James is an advantage.
At the buzzer on Wednesday,, a James’ three-pointer gave the Cavaliers a win in Game 5 and a 3-2 series lead against the Pacers. James finished with 44 points, none bigger than his final three.
The Cavs led by as many as 12 in the win and trailed by seven at halftime before outscoring the Pacers by 15 points in the third quarter.
On the night, James finished 14-24 from the field with the rest of the team shooting 17-61. Only Kyle Korver — who finished with 19 points on 6-11 shooting — made more than two shots in the game. Kevin Love, in particular, struggled with 2-11 night, including a missed three-pointer in the game’s final minute.
James also won the game for the Cavs defensively. On Indiana’s last possession, he switched onto Victor Oladipo, who drove and got to the rim — only to have James come from behind the block his shot. After the Cavs collected the rebound, and called a timeout to advance the ball, James went to work.
On the inbounds pass, James took two dribbles to the top of the key, pulled up and got all net.
- 9:44 p.m.: LEBRON JAMES, THE GOAT. Cavs win.
- 9:42 p.m.: Just wow. LeBron just walked the defensive line so close and blocked Oladipo. Three seconds left, Cavs ball.
- 9:38 p.m.: Tie game here after the Cavs led by as many as 12 in the half. Love’s brutal night is best summed up by that last missed three, too — it’s a look he should be nailing, and the Cavs should be happy to have him take. And he’s not just playing at the level the Cavs need him too. As always, this is on LeBron. 33.6 seconds left.
- 9:26 p.m.: Really nice action there to force the LeBron-Korver pick and roll and get James going downhill again. Also a big stat: He’s 15-15 from the line tonight. Cavs lead by six, 4:38 to play.
- 9:14 p.m.: 7:57 left to play, Cavs up six. This game feels like it’s going to end if/when LeBron goes on another run where he just buries the Pacers with drives to the rim.
- 9:06 p.m.: Feels like LeBron took his foot off the gas pedal some there at the end of the quarter in anticipation of playing a large chunk of the fourth quarter. Cavs lead by eight heading into the fourth — a 15-point swing from the start of the third quarter.
- 8:48 p.m.: THIS PASS THOUGH.
the shots didn't fall but LeBron James' passing on this possession >>>>> pic.twitter.com/PMPaCJoQ5j— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 26, 2018
- 8:43 p.m.: LeBron James is a human bulldozer. The Cavs are up seven because of him and only him and because how aggressive he’s been in getting to the rim and scoring and getting fouled. Cavs lead by seven, 6:26 to go in the third quarter. Also: A good Cavs third quarter?!?!
- 8:35 p.m.: LeBron tying this game with a bulldozer layup on the break caps off a 7-0 Cavs run to start the half. Oladipo also appeared confused by that last trap, or at least made the wrong read.
- 8:12 p.m.: Cavs trail by seven at the half with non-LeBron Cavs shooting 10-30 from the field with LeBron shooting 9-11. These Cavs feel like a light version of the 2015 Finals team, post Kyrie’s Game 1 injury.
- 8:04 p.m.: LeBron James is 8-10 from the field. The rest of the team is 10-28. Cavs trail by five, 2:37 to go in the first half.
- 7:58: p.m.: Rodney Hood’s best moments in the series have come on possessions just like that, when’s he’s attacking the rim and going downhill.
- 7:52 p.m.: 5-0 Pacers run since LBJ returned 41 seconds ago. Yikes. 7:04 to go in the first half, Cavs timeout.
- 7:51 p.m.: Cavs were +3 when LeBron sat to start the second quarter. That’s good, as is Love hitting that three-pointer.
- 7:43 p.m.: LeBron scoring eight points in a row, and just bullying the Pacers, kept this game close. But he needs the team to shoot better than 3-15 and 1-9 from three if the Cavs are going to win this. Combined, Korver, Smith and Hood went 1-7 from three in the first quarter. Pacers 25, Cavs 23.
- 7:30 p.m.: Second timeout, 4:34 left in the first quarter. A Love post-up make and a LeBron bucket of a turnover have this at a two-point game. Lue’s first sub is Jordan Clarkson is Calderon — it’s not Jeff Green, so that’s fine. 1-6 from three, however, is suboptimal.
- 7:22 p.m.:
With Lance Stephenson not in the game yet, we’ve got a fan yelling “F*** you, Lance Stephenson.”— Chris Manning (@cwmwrites) April 25, 2018
- 7:21 p.m.: First timeout of the game, 6:44 left in the first quarter. Cavs are down six, but if Kyle Korver sticks the two open three-pointers he’s missed so far, this is a tie game. Obviously not an ideal start, but it could be worse.
- Interesting use of Kevin Love so far. In place of a normal post-up for him, they’re cutting and moving around him. Big fan of that, especially when LeBron is the cutter. And as I type that, his hook shot is swatted on a post-up.
Tonight, we are trying something new. In addition to the normal gamethread, I’ll be live blogging the game here with a few updates coming each quarter and at halftime.
Cavaliers starters: Jose Calderon, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, LeBron James, Kevin Love .
Pacers starters: Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thad Young, Myles Turner