CLEVELAND: The final five seconds of Wednesday night’s NBA playoff game at Quicken Loans Arena belonged to LeBron James.

With the score tied at 95-95, James stepped up on the defensive end and on offensive end when his teammates needed him most.

And he did so in dramatic fashion.

James blocked a lay­up attempt by Victor Oladipo and, after a rebound by J.R. Smith and a timeout, the 6-foot-8 Akron native swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to give the Cavs a 98-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

James’ heroics sent a sellout crowd of 20,562 into a frenzy as the Cavs triumphed in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first-round series.

Millions more basketball fans watching on television were likely equally impressed as the Cavs took a 3-2 lead in the series.

The Cavs can eliminate the Pacers in Game 6 on Friday in Indianapolis.

Larry Nance Jr. said the shot was reminiscent of the one James made at the buzzer to beat the Orlando Magic in a playoff game in 2009.

“I was in the building in 2009 when he made that 3-pointer against the Magic,” said Nance, an Akron native and Revere product. “It was that exact spot and that exact shot. Especially after that block, once he let that shot go, it was only right. It just seemed right.”

James finished Game 5 with 44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 42 minutes. He made 14-of-24 shots from the field, including 1-of-4 from 3-point range, and made all 15 of his free-throw attempts.

Even with James’ usual scoring, passing, rebounding and defense in the early going, the Cavaliers found themselves behind the Pacers at halftime.

The question for the Cavs was which players were going to step up and make shots in the second half.

The answer became Jose Calderon, Kyle Korver and Kevin Love during a pivotal third-quarter scoring run that propelled the Cavs in front.

“We were a little more aggressive and we made shots,” Calderon said of the Cavs’ big third quarter.

Nance said it was nice for the Cavs to finally start a second half the way they want.

“The third quarter has kind of been our Achilles’ heel this whole series,” he said. “We kind of figured that out today and hopefully we can carry that into the next game.”

Korver totaled 19 points and six rebounds in 33 minutes, Love had 11 points and 10 rebounds in 37 minutes and Calderon scored six points in 20 minutes.

Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 22 points and five rebounds in 33 minutes. Four other Pacers scored in double figures — Thaddeus Young (16 points), Lance Stephenson (12), Oladipo (12) and Bojan Bogdanovic (11).

The Cavs started the game 1-of-10 from 3-point range, and finished 10-of-32 with James’ shot in the final second.

The Pacers built a 13-9 lead with 6:44 left in the first quarter after starting 5-of-10 from the field and 2-of-3 at the free-throw line. The Cavs opened 2-of-10 from the field and 4-of-4 at the free-throw line.

The Pacers’ lead reached 25-15 with 2:28 to go in the first, but the Cavs countered with an 8-0 run that featured four lay­ups by James and trailed 25-23 at the end of the quarter.

James led all scorers in the first quarter with 14 points and at halftime with 20 points, but the Cavs trailed 56-49 at the break. The Pacers’ physicality and balanced scoring attack gave the Cavs fits as Sabonis, Oladipo, Bogdanovic, Young, Stephenson and Myles Turner each scored between five and 12 points in the first half.

The Cavs opened the third quarter on a 24-6 run and led 73-62 at 4:49. James made 5-of-5 free throws during the spurt and converted three lay­ups. Calderon made two 3-pointers during the surge, Korver buried a 3-pointer and two free throws and Love canned two free throws.

James kept attacking the basket in the third quarter, and made two free throws at 2:45 and two more free throws at 2:11 to extend the Cavs’ lead to 80-68. Stephenson nailed a 3 at the third-quarter buzzer and the Cavs led 81-73.

“LeBron was unbelievable at the free-throw line,” Love said. “His shot looked pure.”

The Pacers refused to go quietly in the fourth as Sabonis, Young, Bogdanovic, Oladipo and company cut their deficit to single digits in the opening moments of the quarter. Young converted lay­ups on back-to-back possessions to trim the Cavs’ lead to 95-93, and Sabonis dropped in a jumper with 33.6 seconds to go to tie the score at 95-95.

Turner finished with eight points for the Pacers.

Nance and Jeff Green each scored five points for the Cavs.

Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the #ABJVarsity high school blog at www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MBeavenABJ.