LeBron James did it again Wednesday night, hitting a buzzer-beater in the final seconds of Game 5 to give the Cleveland Cavaliers another win.
Reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s shot over the Cavs in the 1989 playoffs, James received the inbound pass, drove and drained the three-pointer to give the Cavs a 3-2 series lead over the Indiana Pacers.
To heighten the moment even more, on the play before James had blocked a layup attempt by Victor Oladipo when the game was tied.
But was it a block?
Controversy stirred immediately after the game, with many players, fans and commentators stating that the block was instead goaltending.
Goaltending is defined on SportsLingo as:
A violation when a player interferes with the ball when it’s above the rim, is in its downward flight to the basket and has the possibility of going into the basket. In an NBA and NCAA basketball game, goaltending is also called if a player interferes with the ball after it has already touched the backboard, is in a downward flight to the basket and has a chance to go into the basket.
Here’s a look at that play.
— Nate Duncan (@NateDuncanNBA) April 26, 2018
The slow-motion of the play helps to track the ball a bit better. From that angle, it appears that the ball did hit the backboard a second before James makes his game-changing block. If the ball truly did hit the backboard, then this should have been called for goaltending the Pacers should have been awarded the two-points, therefore taking the lead with just a few second left in the game.
Would the Cavs have still attempted the same play if the goaltending call was made, or would they have elected to instead tried to have tied the game with another play?
Obviously, no one will ever know and the Cavs are now one game away from advancing in the playoffs.