The NBA noted in its Last Two Minute Report that referees missed the call when James blocked Oladipo’s shot after the ball made contact with the backboard.
The play was not reviewed, and James went on to hit a buzzer-beating 3 that gave the Cavaliers a 98-95 victory and a 3-2 series lead.
After the game, Oladipo contended that James’ goaltending should have been called. That would have given Indiana a two-point lead with seconds remaining.
“I got a step on him. Felt like I even got grabbed on the way to the rim,” said Oladipo, who finished with 12 points on 2-for-15 shooting and 12 rebounds. “I tried to shoot a layup, it hit the backboard, then he blocked it. … It was a goaltend. It’s hard to even speak on it. It just sucks, honestly. It really sucks. We fought our way back, we tied the game up, that layup is huge.”
NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia told NBA TV on Wednesday night that the play was not reviewable because goaltending was not called on the court.
“In super slow motion, you just see the ball hit the glass and maybe come off an inch, and that’s when LeBron got it,” Borgia said. “Like I said, once the ball touches the [backboard], defenders cannot touch it, and unfortunately James did.”
James, who had 44 points and finished two assists shy of a triple-double, smiled when asked about the play.
“I definitely thought it was a goaltend,” James said with a laugh. “Of course I didn’t think it was a goaltend. I try to make plays like that all the time, and I mean he made a heck of a move, got me leaning right and he went left and I just tried to use my recovery speed and get back up there and make a play on the ball. And I was able to make a play.”
Although James’ 3-pointer would have been enough for a Cavaliers victory, the non-call still didn’t sit well with the Pacers.
“Give him credit where credit is due. The 3 was big-time. Definitely huge,” Oladipo said. “But who’s to say they even run that play? We don’t know what happens. It’s unfortunate. It really sucks that they missed that [goaltending call].”
“We can look at the replay,” Pacers forward Lance Stephenson said. “Clearly, clearly a goaltending.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.