Published: Fri, April 27, 2018
Sports | By Phillip Butler

LeBron James made his IN game-winner once before

LeBron James made his IN game-winner once before

Robert Horry ran his usual post-buzzer-beater piece on NBA.com rating LeBron on the "Horry Scale".

Asked about the play, James said, joking, "I definitely thought it was a goaltend". He is an impossible cover for any single defender who will unfailingly expose any double team. I'll take the better team and lay the bucket. Understanding those stakes only adds to the weight of an impossible task. Like Wednesday night, James didn't have a teammate reach the 20-point mark in that Orlando game.

The Pacers didn't complain on the floor. NBA Senior Vice President of Replay & Referee Operations Joe Borgia offered his take during an appearance NBA TV (H/T ESPN): "In super slow motion, you just see the ball hit the glass, and maybe come off an inch and that's when LeBron got it".

The ball was incorrectly given to the Pacers after being ruled off James. Vic attacked the hoop and it felt good-in that moment that lasted lifetimes, milliseconds passing with the urgency of rush-hour traffic on 465. Slow-motion replay confirmed that James lost control of his dribble, but added one crucial detail: Young's deflection knocked the ball to the baseline-and out of bounds-before it could bounce off of James's arm.

That call is also not why IN lost.

But while James' shot will long be remembered, the Pacers were stinging from his block they felt was illegal. This is a given when you play with the greatness that is King James. The opening was there.

The block itself, regardless of its legality, was a reminder.

In fact, James is averaging 34.8 points, 11.4 rebounds and eight assists per game through five games. "That was the first thing we tried to do on the switches, on the blitzes, just tried to be there early more than anything".

But despite the moment seeming pivotal in the Cavaliers' chase for a second National Basketball Association title in three seasons, James played down his victor and is already focused on Game 6 which takes place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Friday. The problem for Cleveland was that time period spanned the last 7:19 of the game. LeBron hit the game-winner at the end and it was a three-point shot.

Oladipo himself was left in no doubt as the legality of the play.

Oladipo - who had a awful shooting night going just 2-of-15 from the field for 12 points - credited the Cleveland star for the huge shot but questions if he would've had that same joy if his own layup had counted. The game was tight all the way through, but the Raptors outscored the Wizards by nine points in the fourth quarter.

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