With the Indiana Pacers pulling out a do-or-die victory over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the antics were at an all-time high between these two conference powerhouses. One of the most notable moments of the game occurred during the second half, when Lance Stephenson took it upon himself to truly get inside of LeBron James’ head. Apparently, the best method for doing that is to blow softly into your opponent’s ear, which is exactly what Stephenson did to James.
This action didn’t bode well with the Heat franchise, although James didn’t appear to be too bothered by the move during or after the game. One Heat player in particular, Ray Allen, spoke out against the action by simply using one word, “buffoonery”. The use of this word may not seem very harsh, but it implies a deeper context.
This series has been largely defined by the maturity of both teams. The team that is losing in this series is also the team that has publicly gripped about playing time, foul calls and fellow teammates’ actions on and off the court. These are not attributes of a championship caliber team, which is a big reason why you haven’t seen any Heat players going public with their individual needs and concerns. Stephenson’s actions during Game 5 represented more than just him, they represented the rivalry between these two teams.
This Big Brother-Little Brother scenario is still very much alive. The Pacers have battled the Heat consistently in the playoffs for the last three seasons, and every time it has ended with the same result. Until the Pacers can mature as a team, they will struggle to get past the Heat or any other stiff Eastern Conference playoff opponent. To win an NBA championship, a team has to act like one extremely cohesive unit. Stephenson’s antics not only show how desperate and broken the Pacers are, but just how far apart the Pacers and Heat are from winning an NBA title.
Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat writer for RantSports.com.
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