Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers went into Cleveland last night with the goal of upsetting LeBron James and the Cavaliers on the road once again. While they were almost able to do so, James knocked down a game-winning three-pointer as time expired to give the Cavaliers a 98-95 victory and a 3-2 series lead, as ESPN noted.
Despite the disappointment from a loss like that, the Pacers remain confident in themselves. They have shocked the world all season long and firmly believe that they can do so again. Indiana is headed back home to what is expected to be a loud Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Game 6 on Friday evening.
Nate McMillan’s squad was led in scoring last night by Domantas Sabonis off the bench. He scored 22 points on the night and showed for the second straight game that he can create matchup nightmares for Cleveland. Oladipo scored just 12 points on 2-for-15 shooting and knocked down just one of his seven three-point attempts.
Thaddeus Young had a great game for the Pacers, scoring 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting. Lance Stephenson scored 12 points off the bench and Bojan Bogdanovic rounded out the double-digit scorers for Indiana with 11 points.
Once again, James was phenomenal for the Cavaliers, scoring 44 points to go along with 10 rebounds and eight assists. He has been asked to shoulder a huge portion of the load in this first round series. It has been a long time since “The King” has had to go “Full LeBron” to keep his team alive in the opening round of the playoffs.
He did get some help from Kyle Korver again, who scored 19 points including five timely three pointers throughout the game. Kevin Love was the only other player in double figures for Cleveland on the night with 11 points.
Gotta protect home court on Friday.— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) April 26, 2018
Final from Game 5: pic.twitter.com/ry4mauQuDm
Let’s take a look at three things that the Pacers can take away from their Game 5 loss to the Cavaliers.
This Series Is Not Over
Wednesday night was just one loss and there is plenty of basketball left to be played in this series. Oladipo made it a point to remind the media of that fact after Game 5 and the Pacers must believe it. Indiana needs to take care of home court on Friday night and force a winner-take-all Game 7 at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Pressure Is Getting to Victor Oladipo
Unfortunately for the Pacers, Oladipo is allowing the pressure to get to him and it’s affecting his play in a big way. He has struggled ever since Game 1 and has shot his team out of a couple games this series. Oladipo has to get things going again if Indiana wants to have any chance of coming back in this series.
Domantas Sabonis Is a Special Talent
Indiana may have originally looked at Sabonis as a solid throw-in for the Paul George trade, but he has quickly made it clear that he is a special talent. After scoring 22 points last night against the Cavaliers, even more excitement is surrounding Sabonis. The fans in Indiana know basketball and they know that Sabonis is going to be a huge piece of their future for years to come.