The last thing anyone should want to do is give Miami Heat superstar LeBron James a reason to go above and beyond his usual stellar self. Unfortunately, that is exactly what Lance Stephenson did prior to Game 4. The unnecessary bulletin material is one of many reasons why the Heat were able to manhandle the Indiana Pacers for the third consecutive game in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Stephenson had no problem sharing his theory that James’ trash talking was a clear sign of weakness. What he did not realize was that James would be listening. Even if he had intended for James to hear his words, it has to be a decision that he intensely regrets. At the very least, it is something his teammates are not too pleased with considering what it led to.
“You know, Lance is young, and that’s a teaching point,” Pacers’ Paul George said, according to ESPN. “Sometimes you’ve just got to watch what you say. You’re on the big stage. Everything we say is going to be bulletin board material. It’s really going to have a powerful meaning behind it. We’ve just got to be smarter with situations and just voicing our opinion sometimes.”
“When you make comments regarding trash talking and just being caught up between another player in a matchup, you got to bring it,” George continued. “You got to bring it. I’m pretty sure a lot of people were going to be tuned in to see what Lance was going to do because of what he said.”
Personally, I was interested to see how James would respond, and he didn’t disappoint. He posted a game-high 32 points while converting 61.9 percent from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Stephenson finished with a measly nine points on 3-for-7 shooting. Clearly, Stephenson’s comments in regard to his so-called observation completely backfired.
Even though Stephenson let his team down by recording his worst game of the series, he refused to apologize for what he was trying to accomplish. The 23-year-old attempted a bold tactic on the game’s biggest star. There is no need for an apology because he was simply doing his job. There should be no regrets, and instead, only focus on how to slow down James in Game 6.