When will Lance Stephenson learn? After saying before the Eastern Conference Finals began he was hoping to make Dwyane Wade‘s knee “flare up,” Lance said something to set off LeBron James in the second quarter of Game 3 after drawing a charge on the four-time MVP. It was obvious ‘Bron took his defensive assignment on Lance a lot more seriously after that, so we can only imagine what tonight’s Game 4 has in store after Stephenson said James’ talking in Game 3 was “a sign of weakness.”
After Stephenson drew a charge on LeBron in the second quarter of Game 2, James was in Stephenson’s mug for much of the rest of the game.
The Heat needed to slow down Stephenson. His Game 1 exploits helped Indiana win the opener, and he was equally as impressive a in Game 2 loss. But after he struck a note with James following the charge call, James held Stephenson to series-low 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting (though Lance did have 11 rebounds and five assists) as Miami coasted to a 99-87 Game 3 win.
After the game, Stephenson wasn’t done trying to get in James’ head, though. He continued to mention their Game 3 war of words when reporters asked him about James yesterday.
“To me, I think it’s a sign of weakness because he never used to say nothing to me,” Stephenson said. “I always used to be the one who used to be the one that say, ‘I’m going to get under you. I’m going to do something to get you mad’ Now he’s trying to do it to me. I feel like it’s a weakness.”
“I’m doing something right and I’m getting under his skin,” Stephenson said. “I definitely have to keep stepping up to the plate and be aggressive when he does that.”
James didn’t take the bait when Sir Lancelot’s comments were relayed back to him; LeBron stayed focused on the contest between the two teams:
“No. I don’t need to get off with Stephenson,” James said. “One thing I’m not going to do is give y’all a storyline with LeBron and Stephenson. I’m not going to do that. It’s the Pacers versus the Heat.”
James has two NBA titles and he’s led the Heat to three consecutive Eastern Conference titles since signing with Miami in the summer of 2010. Perspective is key. Whereas Stephenson is focused on messing with James, LeBron believes, “Winning the game is more important. I understand what the main goal is.” That could be Indiana’s — and Stephenson’s — undoing during Game 4 in Miami tonight.
Then again, Stephenson has so far backed up his comments about Wade before the series started. While Wade has turned back the clock and appears more explosive and springier than he has since the
2010-11 season, Stephenson has arguably been Indiana’s best player through the first three games of the series.
How does Lance do against LeBron in Game 4?
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