If nothing else, Lance Stephenson sure knows how to be the center of attention.
The enigmatic Indiana Pacers guard has been in the spotlight for much of his team’s Eastern Conference finals series against the Miami Heat.
After Game 2, he drew the ire of the Heat and the NBA league office when he was fined $5,000 for flopping after making contact with LeBron James. In Game 5, Stephenson upped the ante, bizarrely blowing in James’ ear during a stoppage in play before earning a $10,000 fine for yet another flop on James.
While LeBron has done his best to ignore Stephenson’s antics, Heat guard Ray Allen finally has had enough with the Pacers guard’s efforts to get under James’ skin.
“…It’s just buffoonery,” Allen said after Game 5. “As players, we just are professional, we come out and do our jobs. He’s young. He’ll grow up.”
Even Pacers president Larry Bird wasn’t too pleased with Stephenson’s attempt at mind games. When asked via text by The Indianapolis Star if he was upset with Stephenson blowing in James’ ear during Game 5, Bird replied, “Yes I am.”
For all the criticism Stephenson received, it’s hard to argue with the outcome of Game 5. Limited by foul trouble, James had a playoff career-low seven points on just 2-of-10 shooting from the field as the Pacers earned a 93-90 win to force a Game 6 in Miami.