LeBron James took over in the second half for the Cavaliers and has a lead over his team. (David Maxwell / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock)
The first round of the NBA Playoffs continues today with four Game 5s, including two possible knockout games. Follow here for the latest analysis and commentary from NBA reporter Tim Bontemps of The Post and ask him questions in the comments. Find out about yesterday's games here.
Schedule / TV info | Read foreplay | Q & A section
• LeBron James, who had little help on Wednesday, hit a buzzer and beat three to get the Cavaliers past the Pacers.
• The wizards, and John Wall in particular, ran out of gas. (19659006) • Non-Playoff Update: The Atlanta Hawks and Coach Mike Budenholzer have split up.
So, on a night when his teammates did next to nothing, he made sure he did not.
James blocked Victor Oladipo at the basket on one end, then rose and buried a buzzer – three The other players made the Cleveland Cavaliers perform with a heartbreaking 98-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland in the Best -of-seven series defeated 3-2.
"Just give me the ball," said James. "Give me the ball."
James finished the game with 44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, went 14 for 24 out of the field and 15 for the 15 from the free throw line, pulling the Cavaliers over the finish line on a night 51 off the ground and 9-for-28 off the three-point area.
However, it did not matter, James served as a human battering ram to beat the Pacers in paint over and over again, while Oladipo went 2-for-15 off the ground – including 1 for 7 of three – after he did played 5 for 21 in Sunday's game 4 of this series on Sunday.
It's his last shot he'll think about. After driving past James and looking like he was making a layup, James came back into the game and blocked him on the edge, with Cleveland securing the rebound and calling a break three seconds before the end.
James could have committed a goalkeeper foul on the game, but it was very close. But even if he did, the ball would have looked like he had not played Cleveland like before, but in front of Indiana, which allowed Indiana to get the ball.
In other words, it was balanced
Then James took the inbounds pass, dribbled to his left, got up and buried his only three games against Thaddeus Young to take Cleveland into the second round in a win ,
After that, So he went and jumped on the desk and celebrated with the sold-out crowd in the Quicken Loans Arena, who had recently wondered if James James would play for the last time in a Cavaliers uniform at home.
You know me, "said James," you know me. My 15 years, I spent 11 here.
"I'm just trying to make my teammates proud, my fans proud."
More importantly, he gave them a much needed victory.
After interviewing the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns in recent days, Budenholzer seemed to be only a matter of time before he was released from the two years and $ 13 million remaining on his contract to pursue another job in the open market
It was clear that Budenholzer was not on board with the start of a long recovery in Atlanta. After giving up his control of basketball action last summer, when Travis Schlenk of the Golden State came in and became general manager of the team, it's no surprise that this was the final outcome.
Now Atlanta can hired a young trainer to recreate Schlenk while Budenholzer is looking for another job. Expect to get a lot of attention from the Milwaukee Bucks, who might see their season-ending on Thursday when they lose their 6-series home game against the Boston Celtics and both are expected to seek a coach to interim man To replace Joe Prunty and seek to take off with Giannis Antetokounmpo now three years away from the free agency and with Milwaukee moving into a brand new arena next season.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has one of the best homecourt benefits in the NBA.
Trailing 3-1 in their best-of-Seven series towards Game 5 against Utah Jazz, however, it seems that has changed.
With 3:38 in the fourth quarter of Game 5 between the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards, Raptors guard Delon Wright got the ball well behind the three Point bow held as the firing clock declined. Wright, who has gone from 9 to 2 for 9 in the last three games, buried the shot.
Bradley Beal finished third at the ball. Beal, an all-star shooting guard, missed the shot.
Sometimes the NBA is really a make-or-miss league. And this sequence could decide how this first round series ends.
Wright's three-pointer began the 12-minute run for the Raptors in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter and picked up a game that had gone back. In one go, Toronto managed a 3-1 win in this Best of Seven series with a 108-98 victory.
The Wizards have the chance to repeat the series at home 6 game Friday night, but in 44 minutes they have put themselves in a perfect position to win Wednesday and not. John Wall played a terrific game with 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, but he had seven sales and seemed to have no more gas in the second half when Wizards coach Scott Brooks gave his lesson from Game 7 against the Boston Celtics last year and tries to play Wall the whole second half.
Wall – along with the rest of the wizards – faded late, with only Kelly Oubre Jr. playing more than 14 minutes from Washington's bank. Washington will also boast only 5 for 26 out of three – including 2 for 18 among all who are not called Beal. Especially Oubre had trouble to go 1 for 7.
DeMar DeRozan was brave for Toronto with 32 points and Wright with 18 points.
The Cleveland Cavaliers came into trouble at Game 5 against the Indiana Pacers at halftime .
Then LeBron took over James.
Cleveland started the third quarter on a 20-3 run, and currently has a 27-10 advantage in third over Indiana. James, who has 31 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, has transformed himself into a one-man battering ram that puts the Pacers in the spotlight by attacking the edge and either hitting or reaching the Foullinie where he still lacks.
Wizards-Raptors remains a close affair in three quarters. After one, the Wizards led by one. At half-time, the Raptors led one. And after three quarters Toronto retains a lead of 79-78.
The game remains in the same place, with Washington forcing Toronto to take the ball to their stars and let them carry the raptors home while Toronto's support player restricts.
If the Wizards could make a three – they are now 4-for-16 in this game – they would be in a strong position and would move to fourth position. As it is, they should still feel good after Bradley Beal resumed in the third and John Wall, which was a great game.
An important sequence to see: the beginning of the fourth quarter, when DeR Dear and Kyle Lowry are both on the bench. The wizards would be wise if they could do it.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are in trouble.
Even though LeBron James scores 20 points in 9-for-11 shooting, Cleveland is nine points back at half-time to the Indiana Pacers in Game 5.
The reason why? The rest of the cavaliers are 10 for 30 from the field. Kevin Love is 2 for 7, JR Smith is 0 for 4. The Cavaliers as a whole are only 3 in 12 out of three.
Indiana, meanwhile, shoots 55 percent off the ground, has four of his eight shots out of three, has more free throws and created 14 points from nine Cavaliers sales.
Perhaps the most troubling sign for Cleveland? Victor Oladipo scored only 2 for 9. If he returns to his usual percentages in the second half, it could easily be a loss for Cleveland.
The Washington Wizards lose until the halfway point of the fifth game in Toronto. Still, this game plays pretty well from Washington's perspective.
Yes, DeMar DeRozan was great in the first half and scored 20 points in 7:13 shooting. The rest of the Raptors, however, is a combined 11 for 27 – including 2 for 10 out of three points. Remove Kyle Lowry from those numbers and they'll get even worse: 8 for 21 and 1 for 7 of three.
In Game 1, the "others" for Toronto – all except DeRozan and Lowry – were together 31 for 51 from the field and 13 for 21 out of three. In Game 2, they were 28 for 4 from the field and 9 for 21 out of three. Both were, as might be expected, Raptor's profits.
However, as the series shifted back to Washington, the Wizards began to switch more, concentrating on taking the depths players out of the game. The results were instant: 21 for 44 in total and 6 for 17 of the three in Game 3, and 17 for 35 in total and 2 for 8 of the 3 in Game 4.
Not just Toronto's shooting percentage among these players, especially three, though their shot attempts did too. In essence, the Wizards have brought the Raptors back to what they have been for so many years: a team that relies too much on DeRozan and Lowry to score in the playoffs for 48 minutes.
If that's true, then it seems the Wizards have moved into a position where DeRozan will do so, especially in Game 5.
And if that is the case, Washington should have a golden opportunity to steal the home advantage in this series.  Game 5 by Raptors-Wizards runs exactly as Washington liked it. Nobody on the Raptors really clicks next to DeMar DeRozan. The Wizards have turned the ball a bit too much (six so far), but the Raptors only have four points from them.
One very important thing, however, is not to go the way of the Wizards: the game of Bradley Beal. In 12 minutes, Beal is only 1 in 5 for two points, including missing his three. The Wizards as a team shoot under 37 percent, but it's Beal that they have to start. If he can start firing, it will open up easier possibilities for others.
The Cleveland Cavaliers did not fare well in Game 5 but a close proximity to the first quarter mitigated at least some of the damage they inflicted.
LeBron James, as usual, has shown to play, scoring 14 of the 23 points from Cleveland, as the Pacers lead 25-23 after one – a lead that was 10 before the Cavaliers closed the quarter on an 8 -0 barrel, which consisted of four baskets of James, all of which were near the tire.
The rest of the Cavaliers did not show up. While James was 6 for 7 in the first quarter, the remaining Cavaliers were only 3 for 15.
If the Washington Wizards will win on the road they'll need anything (19659063) John Wall, at least, does the work until now.
With nine points from Wall – including a bucket to the end of the quarter – Washington leads by a quarter before a point. DeMar DeRozan has 13 points from Torontos 22 points, but the rest of the Raptors does not start early.
That was the formula for the Wizards' success in both of their wins.
The Toronto Raptors had to start in Game 5 against the Washington Wizards
So far, so good.
Seven quick points from DeMar DeRozan and four more from Kyle Lowry have led Toronto to an early 13-8 lead. And for a team that put a lot of past playoff baggage into this game, it was crucial to stand in front – and avoid that his own fans turned against it.
Now the Raptors must continue to play like this.
Cleveland Cavaliers needs a great Kevin Love game tonight.
The all-star forward struggling with a thumb injury scored just five points on Cleveland's fifth match day. That shot a six-loss series for the Cavaliers, as Love had five or fewer points this season, according to Cavs Beat writer Joe Vardon.
As Vardon says, the cavaliers need more of love tonight. LeBron James remains the best player in the world, but he needs help defeating the Pacers. Love is the player best positioned on Cleveland's roster to give him this help.
When the NBA Playoff Bracket was finally settled the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors seemed almost certain in the second round] But that was before they both looked pretty nondescript at times during the first four games of their respective first-round series shared four games with the Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards. And now, as both teams enter the crucial Game 5s on their home ground on Wednesday night, they will have to do without key characters as they try to move within a triumphal march.
Cleveland will miss George Hill as start-up will miss his second game in a row after injuring his back in Game 3. Jose Calderon will start again for the Cavaliers. Calderon is a very good shooter, does not turn the ball around and Cleveland has generally played very well when he played this season.
But Calderon is also another terrific defender in a team full of them. Hill, on the other hand, is one of the few Cavaliers who can actually stop someone.
Fred VanVleet will miss his third consecutive game for Toronto with an injured shoulder. VanVleet, who was the leader of the Raptors' second division this season, injured Miami Heat in the final minute of the regular Toronto season. He did not play in Game 1, played in Game 2 for three minutes, and has not played since.
Toronto has missed its presence – especially in Game 4, when Delon Wright got some of the open looks that VanVleet would normally break
Prior to Cavs-Pacers, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue and Indiana coach Nate McMillan both suggested they could change their turns in Game 5. McMillan said that Glenn Robinson III. Much of it missed the season with an ankle injury, could play while Lue said the Turkish rookie Cedi Osman could see time.
Schedule Wednesday :
- Washington Wizards at Toronto Raptors, 7 pm, NBA TV (Series 2-2)
- Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers, 7 pm, TNT (Series tied 2-2)  Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder, 9:30 pm, NBA TV (Jazz Lead 3-1)
- Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets, 9:30 pm, TNT (Rockets perform 3-1)
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