He’s going to have to have one in Game 4, and there are no excuses. If Stephenson has another off game, the Pacers’ season is over and the Heat are guaranteed for the NBA Finals.
Stephenson is a three-year pro who at age 22 needs to have pressure thrown his way. It’s the Eastern Conference Finals, and since he’s been put in a position to help the Pacers, he has no choice but to do so.
The fact remains that in a critical Game 3 when the Pacers could have taken control of the series, Stephenson had probably the worst performance of any of the Pacer starters. He hasn’t been having a good offensive series in the first place as in Game 1, he was 2-of-10 from the floor and 0-of-5 in threes for seven points, although he did have three steals, three assists and 12 boards in 43 minutes to play. His performance in Game 2 was slightly better in 39 minutes of play with 4-of-12 shooting from the floor and 2-of-4 in threes for 10 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.
He did had four turnovers in Game 1, and the good news in Game 3 is that in 34 minutes of action he had no turnovers. The bad news is that he only had one rebound while going 2-of-10 from the floor and 2-of-5 in threes for seven points.
Those are not good numbers, and Stephenson must get better in Game 4.