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Cleveland Cavaliers

This Date in NBA History: LeBron James epic clutch sequence in Game 5 vs. Indiana Pacers in 2018 and more.

On April 25th in 2018, LeBron James, in the final five seconds of Game 5 against the Indiana Pacers, followed up a clutch block on Victor Oladipo with a buzzer-beating game-winning 3 over Thaddeus Young.

James' back-to-back clutch plays gave the Cleveland Cavaliers a 98-95 victory and a 3-2 series lead. This was the team's first lead of the series after they previously trailing 1-0 and 2-1.

James' clutch plays ensured the Cavaliers escaped this game with the victory after they let the Pacers come back from a 15-point second-half deficit.

Playing 41:50 minutes of a possible 48, he finished with 44 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists while going a perfect 15-of-15 from the free-throw line. In total, he was responsible for 68 of the team's 98 points (69.4%).

"As a kid you always have those 3, 2, 1 moments and that's what it kind of felt like," James said. "I felt like I was a kid all over again playing basketball at my house on makeshift hoops and my socks as a basketball."

At that time, this was James' fourth game-winning buzzer-beater in the NBA playoffs. He would knock down another one 10 days later vs. the Toronto Raptors.

This was just one game of James' herculean 2018 postseason. He more or less single-handedly led the Cavaliers to the 2018 NBA Finals and averaged a near triple-double in 22 games during the 2018 postseason - 34.0 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 9.0 assists.

He scored 40 or more in eight of the 22 games, scored 30 or more in 12 of the 22, and registered four triple-doubles.

Other notable events on April 25th

  • In 1950, Chuck Cooper became the first black player ever selected (by Boston in the second round) in the NBA Draft. Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, from the Harlem Globetrotters, became the first black player to sign an NBA contract when the New York Knicks purchased his contract.
  • In 1965, Jerry West set the all-time NBA record for the highest scoring average for a playoff series as he averaged 46.3 points per game in six games against the Washington Bullets in the Western Division Finals. He scored more than 40 points in all six games of the series.
  • In 1968, based on a contest sponsored by a local newspaper, "Suns" was chosen as the name of the Phoenix franchise.
  • In 1993, Michael Jordan clinched his seventh straight scoring title (32.6 ppg), tying Wilt Chamberlain's NBA record in the process. He also led the league in steals (2.83 spg) for the third time in his career.
  • In 1993, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who finished with a 54-28 record, became the first team in NBA history to lead the league in field goal percentage (.497), free throw percentage (.802), and 3-point field goal percentage (.381).

Other game-winning buzzer-beaters on April 25th

Jerryd Bayless vs. Chicago Bulls in 2015

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf vs. Phoenix Suns in 1993

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