CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, a crowning moment for another brilliant performance, 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 driving layup, James caught the inbounds pass, took two dribbles and dropped the 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 his career.
James finished with 44 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and went 15 of 15 from the line.
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.
ROCKETS 122, WOLVES 104
In Houston, Clint Capela had 26 points and 15 rebounds, James Harden added 24 points and Houston pulled away in the third quarter to finish off Minnesota in five games.
Houston will await the winner of the Utah-Oklahoma City series. The top-seeded Rockets are headed to the second round for the second year in a row after taking care of the eighth-seeded Timberwolves.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Jamal Crawford added 20 points. Minnesota was in the postseason for the first time since 2004.
THUNDER 107, JAZZ 99
In Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook scored 45 points and Oklahoma City rallied from 25 points down in the second half to fight off elimination and beat Utah.
Westbrook also had 15 rebounds and seven assists. Paul George added 34 points and eight rebounds.
Utah takes a 3-2 lead back to Salt Lake City for Game 6 on Friday.
Oklahoma City took advantage after Utah’s post players, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, got into foul trouble. Both finished with five fouls, and Oklahoma City was able to get to the basket consistently for the first time in the series. Jae Crowder had a career playoff-high 27 points for Utah. Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points, and Joe Ingles added 16.
RAPTORS 108, WIZARDS 98
In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 points and 10 assists and Toronto beat Washington in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead.
Toronto rebounded after losing Games 3 and 4 in Washington. Game 6 is Friday night in Washington.
The only team in the NBA to avoid a three-game losing streak this season, the Raptors went 5-0 following back-to-back losses during the regular season, and have not lost three straight since last year’s second-round sweep against Cleveland.