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LeBron says he ‘went back to his Cleveland days’ during third quarter of Game 5

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LeBron James was spectacular during the third quarter of the Heat’s Game 5 win over the Pacers, and took the game over in large part because he had no choice.

During a tight first half, Indiana’s defense stifled Miami’s role players, while James preferred to be more passive in passing up open looks in a desperate attempt to get others involved.

Once that didn’t work, it was James against the world, and as we’ve seen so many times in the past, he was able to deliver when his team needed him most in a way that few others can.

The third quarter performance was reminiscent of his days with the Cavaliers, when James had far less pure talent on his roster than he does now in Miami. And he wasn’t afraid to say as much afterward.

“Yeah, I kind of just went back to my Cleveland days at that point and just said, hey, let’s try to make more plays and be more of a scoring threat as well, and just try to figure out a way that I can ‑‑ I don’t know, just see if the guys would just follow me, and just lead them the best way I could,” James said.

“I was just in attack mode in the third quarter, look for my shot,” he added. “And luckily I was able to make some.”

There are a lot of ways to spin this, of course — there’s the possibility of people leaping to the conclusion that James is comparing Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to the likes of Zydrunas Ilgauskus and Larry Hughes, and there are the conspiracy theorists that will look to the mere mention of Cleveland as some sign that James is seriously considering a return to the Cavaliers when he becomes an unrestricted free agent again in the summer of 2014.

But we prefer to focus on reality.

The Heat got nothing out of Wade and Bosh in Game 5, but it wasn’t due to a lack of talent or shriveling under the pressure. Both are battling injuries to some degree — Wade has seemingly lost all of his speed and lift due to an ailing knee, making him not much more than an ineffective decoy out there offensively, and Bosh is battling an ankle injury that seemed to limit him, as well.

The good news for the Heat is that LeBron is capable of turning back the clock and remembering what it takes to singlehandedly win games at the highest level. He may need to do that once more in this series to return to the Finals if he continues to get minimal contributions from his supporting cast — just like he did during those Cleveland days.

Russell Westbrook gets so hot, he has to cool himself down (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — Russell Westbrook hit 4-of-6 3-pointers in the third quarter.

This one apparently put him on fire to the point he had to cool himself off.

Stephen Curry literally lays down on defense to avoid ending up in Greek Freak poster (VIDEO)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 19:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors looks on in the first half of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center on February 19, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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It’s hard to find a new low for defense in an NBA All-Star Game.

But Stephen Curry was laying down on defense. Literally.

The result was a Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk and Curry ending up in the highlight anyway.

Russell Westbrook off the backboard to DeAndre Jordan for the dunk (VIDEO)

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Hey, DeAndre Jordan, where was this Saturday night during the Dunk Contest?

The Clippers’ big man threw down an off-the-backboard alley-oop from Russell Westbrook during the All-Star Game Sunday that was better than anything he did on Saturday night. Enjoy

LeBron James passes off backboard to himself for dunk (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — Even in a game conducive to highlights, LeBron James went above and beyond.