Highlights courtesy of MLG Highlights
1. LeBron James. That’s it, goodbye. *voice in my head urges me not to be lazy* Really? Okay! But yeah, LeBron James sunk a three at the buzzer to give the Cleveland Cavaliers 3-2 advantage in the series. Oh, before said game winner James did have 41 points on the night to go along with 10 rebounds and 8 assists. Bron also went a pristine 15 of 15 from the foul line (the Cavs as a whole were actually amazing here making all but one of their 27 free throw attempts).
Down 7 at the half the Cavs used a 32-17 third quarter to give themselves a considerable advantage going into the fourth quarter. James almost out produced the Pacers by himself in this period fueling their surge with 15 points, 5 boards and 4 assists. Seconds before his game winner LJ blocked a Victor Oladipo drive to the rim and gained possession with three seconds left. Knowing that Indy had a foul to give and they had no timeouts The King called his own number raced to get to his spot so the clock couldn’t be stopped and hoisted his shot over Thaddeus Young. As soon as the ball was inbounded to him I had a feeling, I’m sure most of us had a feeling and it turns out we weren’t off. Sometimes you just know.
2. Tonight worked out the way it normally does, James does the lion’s share of the work and at least two or three of the guys that make up the flotsam which comprises the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers roster does just enough not to tank the game. So without any further ado the Cavs’ non-bum of the game was *drumroll* Kyle Korver. It’s a general rule of thumb that when Korver’s jumper is wet the opposing team will be in for a long night. Kyle dropped 19 points on 6 of 11 shooting including 5 of 9 from beyond the arc to go along with 6 boards. Even having only one shooter on is enough to give Bron room to wreak havoc. I repeat just enough.
What I will say about the rest of the Cavs is that they pretty impressive on the defensive end (which is certainly something that can’t be said of them often). J.R. “Pipe” Smith went ofer tonight missing all eight of his attempts from the field and going scoreless but was instrumental in harassing Victor Oladipo and Darren Collison into another inefficient game. Newest Cavs Larry Nance, Jr and Rodney Hood were really good on D as well despite not making much of an impact on the scoreboard. Jordan Clarkson and Jose Calderon did well in their “let’s try to not screw this up” mode. After that there’s really nothing. This is Cavs basketball people, and it (say it with me) just enough.
3. Well, Indy has sure painted themselves into an unsavory corner here haven’t they? It’s shortsighted to say that one play may essentially lose them this series but I will say that if they can’t take the next two from the Cavs this will most likely be the game that keeps them up at night. Another cold night from Victor Oladipo and having to fight themselves out of such a deep hole after a very impressive first half just proved too much for the Pacers.
Teams need their leaders in games like this point blank. Vic notched a double double with 12 points and 12 rebounds but his 2 of 12 from the field (in particular his 1 of 7 from deep) did much more harm than good here. Darren Collison was so bad that he was benched in favor of Cory “CoJo” Joseph who was an upgrade going for 6-5-6 and 2 steals.
Indy did have their bright spots though. After having an up and down (more down than up if you ask me) series Domantas Sabonis was money tonight scoring 22 points on 8 of 12. Sabonis hit the free throw line jumper that tied the game at 95 with 33 seconds remaining. Thaddeus Young was damn good here as well scoring 16 points on 8 of 9 shooting. Both of these guys were active on the defense as well. Lance “Make Em’ Dance” Stephenson did his thing with 12 and 4 assists despite him not being as much of an irritant to James tonight. Bojan Bogdanovic and Myles Turner were okay, just okay. They scored 11 and 8 respectively with Turner swatting two shots.
Earlier in this series it seemed like Indiana just figured out how to win games and just as fast as they gained control they’ve lost it. Now they face the prospect of elimination. This is a team that can regained control but you only get so many shots at the King so it would be best to use them wisely.