LeBron James took matters into his own hands with three seconds left and the score tied.
Turns out, that’s not a bad strategy.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 26, 2018
But moments before his epic game-winner, LeBron’s Cavaliers got a helping hand from the trio of officials working Game 5 of the team’s first-round playoff series with the Pacers.
On the previous possession, breakout star Victor Oladipo drove past LeBron and flicked the ball off the backboard, only to see the attempt mashed back against the glass by the four-time MVP.
You know, like a goaltending violation.
— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) April 26, 2018
To be fair, even with the benefit of replay, it’s a tough call. And unfortunately, the play couldn’t be reviewed.
Which kinda blows for the Pacers, because these two angles would have been enough proof to award the two points, showing the ball hit the backboard before the contact with LeBron.
This clip’s from the Pacers broadcast. The second angle is the clearest look.
I know, I know: “But LeBron hit a three-pointer, which, last I checked, is worth more than the two-pointer Oladipo should have been awarded.”
Up two, Indy would have defended LeBron differently, selling out to protect against the three. But as a defender in a tie game, the stepback 29-footer is preferable to a LeBron take to the rack.
However, Oladipo shouldn’t have had that opportunity to score in the first place.
A possession earlier, the Pacers were awarded the ball when officials determined LeBron had lost the rock out of bounds on this play.
🚨To all Lebron haters 🚨 Shut the hell up about the goaltend if you are not going to mention how the possession leading up to that Thaddeus Young tipped it out of Lebron’s hand yet they still called it out on Bron…the refs just evened the playing field for a missed call!! pic.twitter.com/Ai8BdLblkJ
— Armand Walker (@A_walk25) April 26, 2018