Welcome home, Lance Stephenson.
He’s a native of Brooklyn and won four New York public league titles at Madison Square Garden. On Sunday at the Garden for the Indiana Pacers, Stephenson seemed to be a natural in exploding on the floor and making a critical double-double in his team’s 102-95 win over the New York Knicks.
He had 11 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 5-of-9 from the field while adding three assists.
He was a boon for the Pacers, who had their second straight excellent game on the road. This one came in the first game of the NBA East Semifinals and certainly bolsters the hopes of an Indiana team that was 2-2 against the Atlanta Hawks a week ago, before coming back strong with two wins to take the first-round series.
This series obviously is a long way from being over. The Knicks are coming off a tough first-round series themselves with the Boston Celtics and are looking like an inferior team to the Pacers right now.
Indiana has won three straight in the playoffs, including two on the road. They’re getting solid contributions from everyone, including Stephenson. They’re playing like the team they played as all year, and each win will boost the entire squad with more confidence.
Stephenson is really giving the Pacers a boost on the boards. In his last three games, he had 32 rebounds combined.
Stephenson may not be the glamour player like David West or Paul George, but if he plays more games like he did Sunday, the Pacers will be hard to beat.