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Shot, save: LeBron bails out Cavs with Game 5 buzzer-beater

CLEVELAND (AP) The game, the series, the season and perhaps Cleveland's future were in jeopardy.

LeBron James saved everything.

James dropped a 3-pointer at the buzzer, a crowning moment for another one of his brilliant performances, to give Cleveland a 98-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night in Game 5, putting the Cavaliers within one victory of advancing in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Moments after blocking Victor Oladipo's possible go-ahead layup - a play the Pacers felt was goaltending - James caught the inbounds pass, took two dribbles and hit his winner over Thaddeus Young.

As Cleveland's sellout crowd exploded, James hugged rookie teammate Cedi Osman before jumping on the scorer's table to celebrate another of those moments that will define a career he dreamed of while growing up in Akron.

''As a kid you always have those 3, 2, 1 moments and that's what it kind of felt like,'' James said. ''I felt like I was a kid all over again playing basketball at my house on makeshift hoops and my socks as a basketball.''

James finished with 44 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and went 15 of 15 from the line.

''He does it at both ends every single night,'' Cavs forward Kevin Love said. ''That's why he's the best player in the world.''

Kyle Korver added 19 points and Cleveland's much-maligned defense tightened just in time as the Cavaliers seized their first lead in the first-round series after being down 1-0 and 2-1.

Cleveland can close out Indiana with a win Friday night in Indianapolis.

But while James' shot will long be remembered, the Pacers were stinging from his block they felt was illegal.

With the score tied at 95-all, Oladipo, who shot just 2 of 15, drove the left side and was at the rim when James swooped in for a block on a play reminiscent of his Game 7 block on Andre Iguodala in the 2016 NBA Finals.

However, Oladipo thought his shot hit the backboard first, and goaltending should have been called. TV replays showed the ball appear to hit the glass before Jams touched it.

''I got a step on him and I felt I even got grabbed,'' Oladipo said. ''It hit the backboard and he blocked it. It was a goaltend. It's hard to even speak on it. That layup is huge.''

James smiled when asked about the play.

''Of course I didn't think it was a goaltend,'' he said with a laugh. ''I try to make plays like that all the time. He made a heck of a move, got me leaning right and he went left and I just tried to use my recovery speed and get back up there and make a play on the ball.''

Oladipo's shooting woes continued. He's only 12 of 50 from the field in the last three games. He scored 32 in the Pacers' Game 1 win, but the Cavs have been double-teaming him ever since.

The third quarter has been a major problem for Cleveland all season. The Cavs had tried everything to try and shake things up after halftime, even doing layup lines at the break in Game 4 like a high school squad.

Turns out, all it took was some defensive intensity.

Down by seven at half, the Cavs swarmed the Pacers in the third quarter, forcing five turnovers in the first six minutes and holding Indiana to one field goal over the first 6:52 while opening with a 19-3 run.

Cleveland outscored Indiana 32-17 in the third, when the Pacers shot just 5 for 16 (31 percent) and committed seven turnovers.

''We didn't do anything new,'' said guard Jose Calderon, who started his second game in place of George Hill. ''We were just more aggressive.''

JOSE, JOSE, JOSE:

Calderon provided a huge lift, making a pair of 3-pointers and contributing several other hustle plays in 20 minutes. The 36-year-old has done whatever Cleveland's needed.

''Jose has been steady for us all year,'' Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. ''G-Hill goes down and Jose comes in and makes plays. He's been that guy for us all year.''

DWYANE'S WORLD

James had enough to worry about with the Pacers that he didn't want to discuss close friend Dwyane Wade's future.

Miami's star is mulling retirement after the Heat were eliminated Tuesday in Philadelphia. James spent four years playing in Miami with Wade, who began this season with the Cavs before being traded.

James said that following his last game against Wade he told him, '''If it's like our last time going against each other, then it's been everything and more.'' James wants to wait for Wade to make his decision and will then ''give a more in-depth analysis of his career if he decides to hang `em up.''

TIP-INS:

Pacers: Following Lance Stephenson's aggressive, wrestling-like takedown of Jeff Green in the waning moments of Game 4, coach Nate McMillan said he reminded the fiery forward to be careful. ''The officials are going to be watching that, Lance knows that and there are some times where I think they (the Cavs) are taking advantage.'' ... Dropped to 2-12 in their last 14 games in Cleveland. ... James' triple-double in Game 4 was the sixth against Indiana in the playoffs. James has done it to the Pacers three times.

Cavaliers: With his 21st 40-point game in the playoff, James tied the logo - Jerry West - for the second-most all-time. Michael Jordan scored at least 40 in 38 postseason games. .... Hill's back has improved in the past few days, but he didn't look close to playing while sitting stiffly in his locker-room chair before the game. ... Browns Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown sat courtside.

UP NEXT

Game 6 is Friday night at Indianapolis.

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:35   Out of bounds turnover on Bojan Bogdanovic  
11:23 +2 LeBron James made layup, assist by Kevin Love 0-2
11:02   Myles Turner missed turnaround jump shot  
10:59   Offensive rebound by Thaddeus Young  
10:54 +2 Bojan Bogdanovic made jump shot 2-2
10:38   J.R. Smith missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:36   Defensive rebound by Thaddeus Young  
10:18   Bad pass turnover on Thaddeus Young, stolen by J.R. Smith  
10:10 +3 Kyle Korver made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by J.R. Smith 2-5
9:53 +2 Victor Oladipo made driving layup 4-5
9:28   Jose Calderon missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:24   Offensive rebound by LeBron James  
9:20   Lost ball turnover on LeBron James, stolen by Bojan Bogdanovic  
9:09 +3 Bojan Bogdanovic made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Darren Collison 7-5
8:55   J.R. Smith missed jump shot  
8:49   Offensive rebound by Jose Calderon  
8:49   Jose Calderon missed dunk  
8:48   Defensive rebound by Victor Oladipo  
8:47   Victor Oladipo missed driving layup  
8:43   Defensive rebound by Kevin Love  
8:37   Shooting foul on Thaddeus Young  
8:37 +1 Kevin Love made 1st of 2 free throws 7-6
8:37 +1 Kevin Love made 2nd of 2 free throws 7-7
8:16 +2 Thaddeus Young made hook shot 9-7
7:59   Kevin Love missed turnaround jump shot, blocked by Myles Turner  
7:56   Defensive rebound by Thaddeus Young  
7:54   Victor Oladipo missed layup  
7:50   Defensive rebound by LeBron James  
7:48   Kyle Korver missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:44   Defensive rebound by Myles Turner  
7:41 +2 Darren Collison made driving layup 11-7
7:41   Shooting foul on Kyle Korver  
7:41 +1 Darren Collison made free throw 12-7
7:18   LeBron James missed floating jump shot  
7:16   Defensive rebound by Myles Turner  
7:12   Darren Collison missed driving layup  
7:12   Team rebound  
7:09   Bojan Bogdanovic missed turnaround jump shot  
7:09   Offensive rebound by Victor Oladipo  
7:09   Shooting foul on Kevin Love  
7:09   Victor Oladipo missed 1st of 2 free throws  
7:09   Team rebound  
7:09 +1 Victor Oladipo made 2nd of 2 free throws 13-7
6:57   Kyle Korver missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:54   Offensive rebound by Kyle Korver  
6:44   Shooting foul on Bojan Bogdanovic  
6:44 +1 LeBron James made 1st of 2 free throws 13-8
6:44 +1 LeBron James made 2nd of 2 free throws 13-9
6:28   Lost ball turnover on Myles Turner, stolen by Jose Calderon  
6:26   Out of bounds turnover on LeBron James  
6:06   Bojan Bogdanovic missed floating jump shot  
6:02   Defensive rebound by J.R. Smith  
5:56   J.R. Smith missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:53   Defensive rebound by Victor Oladipo  
5:48 +2 Myles Turner made driving dunk, assist by Victor Oladipo 15-9
5:27   Out of bounds turnover on Kevin Love  
5:07   Traveling violation turnover on Bojan Bogdanovic  
4:59   Personal foul on Myles Turner  
4:48 +2 Kevin Love made hook shot 15-11
4:45   Bad pass turnover on Myles Turner, stolen by J.R. Smith  
4:39 +2 LeBron James made driving layup, assist by J.R. Smith 15-13
4:25   Shooting foul on LeBron James  
4:25 +1 Victor Oladipo made 1st of 3 free throws 16-13
4:25 +1 Victor Oladipo made 2nd of 3 free throws 17-13
4:25 +1 Victor Oladipo made 3rd of 3 free throws 18-13
4:14   Personal foul on Victor Oladipo  
4:02 +2 Larry Nance Jr. made dunk, assist by LeBron James 18-15
3:43 +2 Myles Turner made jump shot, assist by Darren Collison 20-15
3:43   Shooting foul on Jordan Clarkson  
3:43 +1 Myles Turner made free throw 21-15
3:22   Rodney Hood missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:19   Offensive rebound by LeBron James  
3:18   J.R. Smith missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:16   Team rebound  
3:16   Personal foul on Larry Nance Jr.  
3:16 +1 Domantas Sabonis made 1st of 2 free throws 22-15
3:16 +1 Domantas Sabonis made 2nd of 2 free throws 23-15
3:04   Jordan Clarkson missed driving layup, blocked by Myles Turner  
3:00   Defensive rebound by Victor Oladipo  
2:54   Domantas Sabonis missed hook shot  
2:53   Team rebound  
2:41   Lost ball turnover on Jordan Clarkson, stolen by Victor Oladipo  
2:28 +2 Domantas Sabonis made layup, assist by Victor Oladipo 25-15
2:12 +2 LeBron James made driving layup 25-17
1:44   Darren Collison missed floating jump shot, blocked by Rodney Hood  
1:43   Team rebound  
1:43   24-second shot clock violation turnover  
1:28 +2 LeBron James made driving layup 25-19
1:13   Domantas Sabonis missed finger-roll layup  
1:11   Defensive rebound by LeBron James  
0:50 +2 LeBron James made driving layup 25-21
0:35   Victor Oladipo missed finger-roll layup  
0:32   Defensive rebound by Larry Nance Jr.  
0:27 +2 LeBron James made floating jump shot 25-23
0:03   24-second shot clock violation turnover  
0:00   Jeff Green missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   Team rebound  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:35 +2 Rodney Hood made floating jump shot, assist by Larry Nance Jr. 25-25
11:16   Cory Joseph missed floating jump shot  
11:13   Defensive rebound by Kevin Love  
11:10   Rodney Hood missed driving layup, blocked by Cory Joseph  
11:10   Team rebound  
11:05   Kevin Love missed driving layup  
11:03   Defensive rebound by Cory Joseph  
10:48 +3 Lance Stephenson made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Bojan Bogdanovic 28-25
10:28 +2 Jordan Clarkson made jump shot 28-27
10:14   Lance Stephenson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:11   Defensive rebound by Jeff Green  
10:06 +2 Jeff Green made floating jump shot 28-29
9:43   Shooting foul on Rodney Hood  
9:43 +1 Domantas Sabonis made 1st of 2 free throws 29-29
9:43   Domantas Sabonis missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
9:41   Defensive rebound by Larry Nance Jr.  
9:25   Shooting foul on Trevor Booker  
9:25 +1 Kevin Love made 1st of 2 free throws 29-30
9:25 +1 Kevin Love made 2nd of 2 free throws 29-31
9:02 +2 Trevor Booker made reverse layup, assist by Lance Stephenson 31-31
8:47 +2 Jordan Clarkson made jump shot 31-33
8:31 +2 Lance Stephenson made driving layup 33-33
8:21   Jordan Clarkson missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:19   Offensive rebound by Larry Nance Jr.  
8:16 +3 Kevin Love made 3-pt. jump shot 33-36
8:00 +2 Domantas Sabonis made layup, assist by Lance Stephenson 35-36
7:45   Out of bounds turnover on Jordan Clarkson  
7:25 +2 Cory Joseph made fade-away jump shot 37-36
7:08   Lost ball turnover on Kevin Love, stolen by Cory Joseph  
7:03 +2 Lance Stephenson made layup, assist by Victor Oladipo 39-36
6:48 +2 Kyle Korver made layup, assist by LeBron James 39-38
6:33 +2 Domantas Sabonis made jump shot, assist by Lance Stephenson 41-38
6:04   Kyle Korver missed jump shot  
6:02   Defensive rebound by Victor Oladipo  
5:57   Victor Oladipo missed jump shot  
5:54   Defensive rebound by Kyle Korver  
5:50   Shooting foul on Domantas Sabonis  
5:50 +1 Rodney Hood made 1st of 2 free throws 41-39
5:50 +1 Rodney Hood made 2nd of 2 free throws 41-40
5:37   Shooting foul on J.R. Smith  
5:37   Domantas Sabonis missed 1st of 2 free throws  
5:37   Team rebound  
5:37 +1 Domantas Sabonis made 2nd of 2 free throws 42-40
5:26   Personal foul on Lance Stephenson  
5:17   Bad pass turnover on J.R. Smith, stolen by Domantas Sabonis  
5:12 +2 Domantas Sabonis made layup, assist by Thaddeus Young 44-40
4:48   Offensive foul on J.R. Smith  
4:48   Offensive foul on J.R. Smith  
4:48   Delay of game violation  
4:38 +3 Bojan Bogdanovic made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Cory Joseph 47-40
4:25 +3 Kyle Korver made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by LeBron James 47-43
4:11 +3 Victor Oladipo made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Domantas Sabonis 50-43
3:53   Kevin Love missed jump shot  
3:50   Defensive rebound by Victor Oladipo  
3:39 +2 Thaddeus Young made floating jump shot, assist by Victor Oladipo 52-43
3:21 +2 LeBron James made driving layup 52-45
3:16   Victor Oladipo missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:11   Defensive rebound by Rodney Hood  
3:04   LeBron James missed layup  
3:01   Kevin Love missed dunk  
3:01   Offensive rebound by Kevin Love  
3:01   Team rebound  
2:46 +2 LeBron James made driving dunk 52-47
2:20 +2 Thaddeus Young made hook shot, assist by Bojan Bogdanovic 54-47
2:01   Kevin Love missed hook shot  
1:59   Defensive rebound by Victor Oladipo  
1:43 +2 Thaddeus Young made hook shot 56-47
1:28   Rodney Hood missed jump shot  
1:26   Defensive rebound by Victor Oladipo  
1:16   Personal foul on Rodney Hood  
1:05   Victor Oladipo missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:05   Team rebound  
1:05   Personal foul on Thaddeus Young  
0:56   Traveling violation turnover on Kyle Korver  
0:42   Darren Collison missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:37   Defensive rebound by Kyle Korver  
0:32 +2 LeBron James made driving layup 56-49
0:13   Victor Oladipo missed jump shot  
0:12   Defensive rebound by Kevin Love  
0:00   End of period  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:47   Shooting foul on Bojan Bogdanovic  
11:47 +1 LeBron James made 1st of 2 free throws 56-50
11:47 +1 LeBron James made 2nd of 2 free throws 56-51
11:24   Darren Collison missed driving layup  
11:21   Defensive rebound by Kevin Love  
11:09 +3 Jose Calderon made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by LeBron James 56-54
10:56   Bojan Bogdanovic missed jump shot  
10:53   Defensive rebound by LeBron James  
10:47   Kyle Korver missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:45   Defensive rebound by Darren Collison  
10:23   Victor Oladipo missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:20   Defensive rebound by Jose Calderon  
10:10   Bad pass turnover on Jose Calderon, stolen by Darren Collison  
10:06   Personal foul on J.R. Smith  
10:04   Offensive foul on Myles Turner  
10:04   Offensive foul on Myles Turner  
9:42   LeBron James missed floating jump shot  
9:40   Offensive rebound by Kevin Love  
9:18   Jose Calderon missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:18   Team rebound  
9:18   Personal foul on Myles Turner  
9:15   J.R. Smith missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:12   Team rebound  
8:56   Bad pass turnover on Victor Oladipo, stolen by LeBron James  
8:51 +2 LeBron James made layup, assist by J.R. Smith 56-56
8:29   Victor Oladipo missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:26   Defensive rebound by LeBron James  
8:19 +2 LeBron James made finger-roll layup 56-58
8:02 +2 Myles Turner made layup, assist by Darren Collison 58-58
8:02   Shooting foul on Jose Calderon  
8:02 +1 Myles Turner made free throw 59-58
7:48 +3 Kyle Korver made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by LeBron James 59-61
7:38   Traveling violation turnover on Thaddeus Young  
7:29   Shooting foul on Bojan Bogdanovic  
7:29 +1 LeBron James made 1st of 2 free throws 59-62
7:29 +1 LeBron James made 2nd of 2 free throws 59-63
7:16   Bad pass turnover on Bojan Bogdanovic, stolen by Kyle Korver  
7:07   Kyle Korver missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:04   Offensive rebound by Kevin Love  
7:02   J.R. Smith missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:01   Team rebound  
7:01   Personal foul on Kevin Love  
6:50   Personal foul on Jose Calderon  
6:43   Out of bounds turnover on Victor Oladipo  
6:26 +2 LeBron James made driving layup 59-65
6:26   Shooting foul on Myles Turner  
6:26 +1 LeBron James made free throw 59-66
6:12   Offensive foul on Bojan Bogdanovic  
6:12   Jumpball  
5:56   Shooting foul on Victor Oladipo  
5:56 +1 Kyle Korver made 1st of 2 free throws 59-67
5:56 +1 Kyle Korver made 2nd of 2 free throws 59-68
5:35   Shooting foul on Jose Calderon  
5:35   Darren Collison missed 1st of 2 free throws  
5:35   Team rebound  
5:35 +1 Darren Collison made 2nd of 2 free throws 60-68
5:25   Personal foul on Domantas Sabonis  
5:25 +1 Kevin Love made 1st of 2 free throws 60-69
5:25 +1 Kevin Love made 2nd of 2 free throws 60-70
5:07 +2 Thaddeus Young made dunk, assist by Domantas Sabonis 62-70
4:49 +3 Jose Calderon made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by LeBron James 62-73
4:35   Bojan Bogdanovic missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:34   Offensive rebound by Thaddeus Young  
4:34 +2 Thaddeus Young made dunk 64-73
4:34   Shooting foul on Jose Calderon  
4:34   Thaddeus Young missed free throw  
4:34   Defensive rebound by Kyle Korver  
4:11   LeBron James missed driving layup  
4:09   LeBron James missed dunk  
4:09   Offensive rebound by LeBron James  
4:09   Offensive rebound by Kevin Love  
4:09   Kevin Love missed dunk  
4:09   Defensive rebound by Domantas Sabonis  
4:09   Personal foul on LeBron James  
4:09 +1 Domantas Sabonis made 1st of 2 free throws 65-73
4:09 +1 Domantas Sabonis made 2nd of 2 free throws 66-73