Larry Nance Jr.’s tip-in attempt off an intentionally missed free throw by LeBron James bounced off the rim at the buzzer, cutting the Cleveland Cavaliers’ comeback against the 76ers just short in a 132-130 loss Friday night.
As frantic as the finish was, what led up to it was even more remarkable: The Cavs trailed the Sixers by 30 points in the second quarter and found themselves down by only one with 12.4 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Had Cleveland pulled off the victory, it would have marked the biggest comeback of the entire NBA season — eclipsing the Washington Wizards overcoming a 27-point deficit against the New York Knicks on Feb. 14, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
James and Kevin Love showed they were more than capable of executing their late-game “touchdown” play, in which Love throws an inbounds pass from the baseline past the half-court line to a streaking James to catch and shoot. They had run it only one other time this season, and Love told ESPN the pair hadn’t practiced it since training camp.
“Kevin’s a great passer in that situation, and Bron being able to shield his man off and go up and catch it and get it,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said. “We had our chances.”
“Competitiveness,” Jackson said, via Mickles. “I wanted to beat my time from the combine. I was successful, so that’s really what it was.
“. . . I was shooting for something under 4.3, but 4.31 is fast, so I’m OK with it. I’m not disappointed at all. I felt like I ran good, felt like I ran a 4.2. When I didn’t see 4.2 [on the video screen], it was like, ‘That’s all I had in the tank, so it was OK.’”
Jackson has visited the Eagles, his only trip so far. But with Pro Day out of the way, he could get more attention the next couple of weeks.
The chip that began building on Melvin’s shoulder served him well when he arrived as a walk-on at nearby Northern Illinois.
“It was, ‘Hey, just try your best and give it all you’ve got and you’ll earn a scholarship,'” Melvin said. “I did that.”