Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson has made it very clear that he is trying to get into Miami Heat star LeBron James‘ head. Whether it’s on the court or off the court, Stephenson has something to say to LeBron. For the most part, so far, James has handled Stephenson’s distractions very well and almost seems unaffected by his attempts to distract him.
In Game 3, James fired back not with words but with his play on the court. After a play in the second quarter during the Heat’s 15-point comeback, James was called for a charge and stood over Stephenson as he sat on the floor, then followed him as closely as possible on the way back down the court.
In an interview with Shandel Richardson of the Miami Herald, Stephenson made the following statements:
“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 was asked about Stephenson’s distractions and comments regarding him (by Richardson) and he responded:
“One thing I’m not going to do is give y’all a storyline with LeBron and Stephenson,” James said. “I’m not going to do that. It’s the Pacers versus the Heat. I’m not going to get involved in that … I’ve already been involved in a LeBron vs. Stevenson in my playoff career.”
Stephenson really thinks he is getting under Lebron’s skin, but the Pacers are still down 2-1 in the series and have another game in Miami. There is no denying that Stehpenson has also been playing very well this series for Indiana, so he has the right to talk some trash and why not try to get into the head of the best basketball player in the world?
The only problem is instead of battling with a “war of words”, LeBron instead responds with 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting, to go along with five rebounds, seven assists, four steals and a Game 3 victory. As long as he is performing like this Stephenson’s words are irrelevant.