LeBron James shades Pacers for controversial Game 1 decision

LeBron James was not thrilled about some decision making on Tuesday night.

With the Pacers up by three in the final seconds of the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics in-bounded the ball the Jaylen Brown in the corner, and he tied the game with a dramatic 3-pointer.

It proved to be a momentum-shifter, as the Celtics forced overtime and took Game 1 on home court at TD Garden.

James, though, said he never would have let it happen.

“And yall still wanna know why I would foul up 3 EVERY SINGLE TIME??” James posted on X shortly after the bucket with three hands covering face emojis.

The Lakers star then re-shared a “Mind the Game” podcast clip from earlier in May in which he and co-host J.J. Redick discussed the merits of fouling the opposing team when up by three in the final ticks of a basketball game.

He said that it obviously comes down to the situation in which the team is in, but in the example of the Knicks being up by three in Game 5 of their first-round series against the 76ers — one in which Philadelphia tied it on a dramatic deep trey from Tyrese Maxey — James said he would have fouled.

“I personally, I would’ve fouled — I would have,” James said. “I would have fouled before Tyrese even touched halfcourt. … It has to be on the downward dribble, if you’re going to foul, you have to foul on the downward dribble. Sometimes, a lot of guys are afraid to do it, too. A lot of coaches are afraid to tell there team to foul when up three because either one, they haven’t worked on it. Or two, it is, with our rules, it gets tricky sometimes and you send a guy to the free-throw line … I am fouling, I am fouling, I am fouling. Guys are too great.”

Redick agreed, going as far as to say he would foul up by three points “every single time.”

Head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters after the game that he took blame for the defeat.

“I love the way our guys fought in this game; this loss is totally on me,” Carlisle said. “With 10 seconds in regulation, we should have just taken the timeout, advanced the ball and found a way to get it in and made a free throw or two — and ended the game. But it didn’t happen.”

The strategy might’ve paid off for the Pacers on Tuesday, but instead, they got one more chance in regulation to try to win, but Tyrese Haliburton took and missed a contested 3-pointer, and from there, Boston took command in overtime to take the series opener.

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