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Pacers G Stephenson defends trash talk

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson stood by his trash talking of Miami Heat forward LeBron James hours before the two teams were set to play Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday night.

Stephenson targeted Heat guard Dwyane Wade at the beginning of the series by saying he was going to make Wade run around to “flare up” his knees. Then, after Game 3 of the series, Stephenson said James’ trash talk was a “sign of weakness.”

After Monday’s shootaround, Stephenson defended his comments, even though Miami leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

“I don’t mind it, I don’t care how (LeBron) feels. I’m up for any challenge,” Stephenson said. “I love it when people challenge me, I like to bring out the best in people. That’s how I am, I have to get the win tonight. When I talk junk, it makes me happier in my job. I like the challenge, I like to force myself to do my job.”

Pacers forward Paul George suggested that Stephenson should bring it down a notch.

“Lance is genuine,” George said. “Sometimes he needs to keep things more in house and be a little more modest. … He’s doing it to the wrong guy. He’s barking up the wrong tree. LeBron is the same way, he feeds off that kind of energy.”

Stephenson is averaging 17 points and seven assists per game in the series. He is having a good series, but not as good as James’ 24.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists. He averaged more than 27 points per game in the regular season.

“It’s LeBron, he’s the best player in the world,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said. “If (Stephenson) getting in his head is averaging 27 points, I hope he stays there.”

Stephenson said his teammates and coaches have not told him to temper his comments, but he may do so anyway.

“We’re playing against the Heat, everything is in the spotlight,” Stephenson said. “I’ve got to be careful with what I say.”

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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