CLEVELAND, Ohio – To a man, the Pacers locker room agreed Victor Oladipo deserved a goaltending call on his late drive to the basket and layup attempt, which was blocked by LeBron James. Some words they used off camera are not suitable for print, so let’s just say they vehemently disagreed with the outcome.
Still, the Cavs took over possession with three seconds to play and proceeded to break the 95-95 tie with a LeBron three-pointer, sending the series back to Indiana for Game 6 with Cleveland on top 3-2, one win away from the second round of the NBA Playoffs.
The final segments of any close game come under a magnifying glass, so those last possessions will be scrutinized in and out until Game 6 tips off. Nevertheless, a possible blown call cannot hold sole blame for the Pacers’ loss. The Blue and Gold held a double-digit lead in the first half and took a seven-point advantage into the locker room. The third quarter was a disaster, as Indiana committed seven turnovers while being outscored by 15 points en route to the Cavs taking an eight-point lead into the final quarter.
“Starting in the third quarter, we spotted them 15, 16 points before we even got a bucket,” said Thaddeus Young. “We just can’t continue to shoot ourselves in the foot. We went into half up seven, and we could have built on that lead, and we didn’t do a good job of it.”
“At the end of the game, we had a couple of turnovers in a row,” added Domantas Sabonis. “That hurt our momentum even though we tied up the game, but it could have been different. We’ve gotta take care of the ball more.”
The Pacers find themselves in a familiar position: With their backs against the wall, needing to come back from a deficit. They seem to have thrived in such a position all season long, completing many second half comebacks. Now, we’ll see if they can do the same in a series.