Tuesday, October 23, 2018 Medina 43°

Cavs Notes

Ingraham: The King's reign soaks Pacers in Game 5

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    Cleveland's LeBron James reacts after making the game-winning shot in the second half of Game 5 of the Cavaliers' first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday in Cleveland. The Cavs won 98-95.



The King is mighty and shall prevail.

There may not be a greater game, a greater series played by a greater player than the greatest player on earth played Wednesday night — and is playing for the lucky-to-have-him Cavaliers.

Just ask those who saw him in all his magnificence Wednesday night, when he did it again.

When his team needed him most, when his opponents feared him the most … he came through the way only he comes through, because he is The King, and …

The King is mighty and shall prevail.

What can possibly be said about that performance.

With the game and the series hanging in the balance, with Indiana’s Victor Oladipo rolling down the lane towards what appeared to be a potential game-winning layup, LeBron James did his LeBron thing.

From out of nowhere: blocked shot.

With three seconds left.

Cavs ball.

LeBron’s ball.

He knew it. They knew it. The deer-in-the-headlights look of the Indiana Pacers coming out of the timeout told you they knew it.

It was 95-95, Game 5 of a series tied at 2-2. Three seconds left. Who do you THINK is going to get the ball — Smush Parker?

So the inbounds pass goes to the greatest player on earth. He dribbles into the spotlight, launches from about 30 feet. The ball soars towards the hoop, past the ghost of Michael Jordan’s best games, the clock ticking down, the Pacers powerless, the ball descends.

Swish! Cavs 98, Pacers 95.

The King is mighty and shall prevail.

The greatest of all at his all-time greatest.

We will not see his like again.

Imagine you’re the Pacers. Yes, they’re going back home for Game 6. But the Cavs lead 3-2. If there’s a Game 7 it will be back at The Q. But most important of all:

The Cavs have LeBron, and all the Pacers have is a front row seat.

Game 5 goes right into LeBron’s career highlight reel, up high, and not just because of that last, preposterous, flabbergasting, history-making bull’s-eye.

This was the greatest player in the game, maybe the greatest athlete in the world, relishing and reveling in the sheer competition of the moment. The Cavs came into the game knowing LeBron was going to have to carry them. He also knew it.

So he did. He carried them.

From start to finish. The Pacers got a full wash and rinse from LeBron. He scored 44 points, 25 more than anyone else on his team. He was 15-for-15 from the free throw line. Ten rebounds. Eight assists. A blocked shot. A steal.

And he was out of gas at the end. You could tell because near the end of the fourth quarter he stopped attacking on offense. His fuel light was on, and when he dribbled out of bounds on the Cavs’ second-to-last possession of the game, it gave the Pacers the ball with the score tied 95-all, and 26 seconds left in the game.

But then LeBron located one of those “pockets of energy” he refers to, just in time to block Oladipo’s shot.

Just in time to hit the game-winning, series-saving shot.

The King is mighty and shall prevail.

“He’s had two days off, hopefully he’s ready to go,” said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue prior to the game. “He might have go 48 (minutes).”

Nope, LeBron did all that damage in a “mere” 41 minutes.

Through most of the first half LeBron kept the Cavs in the game, when the rest of the Cavs NEEDED to be kept in the game, because they weren’t doing much on their own.

In the first quarter LeBron shot 86 percent from the field (6-for-7). All the other Cavs shot 20 percent (3-for-15).

It was LeBron against the world. It’s been LeBron against the world, and the Pacers, for this entire series. Without LeBron, the Cavs get swept in four games. There’s no question about that.

But with LeBron, well, the Cavs are now one win away from winning the series from a hustling, hungry Pacers team whose friskiness has frustrated the Cavs in every game.

At halftime LeBron was shooting 82 percent from the field (9-for-11) and his teammates were shooting 33 percent (10-for-30).

For most of the game, it was like watching an elite triathlete at the top of his game. Whatever needed doing, LeBron did it, in traffic, in the open floor, on offense, defense, rebounding. He was a one-man gang, a man among boys.

Some helpers did eventually show up. Kyle Korver had 19 points. J.R. Smith didn’t score (bad J.R.!) but his defense on Oladipo? Good J.R.! Oladipo missed 13 of his 15 shots from the field.

But all that was window dressing. Because this was a performance for the ages by the best player in the game.

The King is mighty and shall prevail.

Contact Jim Ingraham at 329-7135 or Jingraham4@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jim_Ingraham.

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