LeBron James' game-saving block may have actually been a violation that the refs missed

  • LeBron James made a game-saving block on Victor Oladipo on Wednesday before hitting the game-winning three-pointer.

  • Replays showed that James might have touched the ball after it had already hit the backboard, making it goaltending, though it was a close call.

  • Referees could not review the play because they had not called it goaltending when the play occurred.

LeBron James played hero for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, coming up with a block on Victor Oladipo's go-ahead layup attempt with three second left, then burying a game-winning three-pointer as time expired.

The sequence will make James' greatest hits playlist when his career is done, but upon further inspection, his block on Oladipo might have been a missed call by the refs.

A close look at the block appears to show the ball hitting the backboard first before James touched it. That would have made it a goaltend, putting the Pacers up 97-95 with three seconds to play.

Because the refs did not rule it a goaltend when the play occurred, they could not review the play.

Of course, James' game-winning three might make the point moot, but if the Pacers led by two going into the final possession, things might have turned out differently. For instance, the Cavs might have gone for a two-point shot to play it safe in an attempt to tie the game. Or if they were going for three, the Pacers might have played them a little tighter on the perimeter, knowing they could only lose with one type of shot.

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James could argue the missed goaltend call was vindication anyway. On the play right before his block, James turned the ball over when he dribbled out of bounds. However, James had argued that the ball was poked out of his hands, then hit the baseline before he touched it. Referees didn't review it, and the Pacers got the ball.

James' heroics helped the Cavs take a 3-2 series lead as they head to Indiana for Game 6.

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