Report: Pacers' Lance Stephenson, Evan Turner engage in 'fistfight' at practice
Pacers guards Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner reportedly engaged in a fight at practice prior to the start of the 2014 playoffs.
Yahoo! Sports reports that Stephenson and Turner had to be separated on Friday, one day before Indiana's Game 1 loss to Atlanta.
Two Indiana Pacers dragged a cursing, cut Evan Turner out of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court, untangling him from a practice-floor fistfight with teammate Lance Stephenson.
Turner hadn't been the first Pacer to lose his temper with Stephenson these tumultuous several weeks, and Stephenson's relentlessly irritable nature suggests Turner won't be the last.
Turner insisted "nothing happened" with Stephenson in practice on Friday, but he's in a tough spot to cop to the truth.
Prior to Turner's debut on Feb. 25, the Pacers were 42-13. With Turner in the lineup, Indiana has gone just 13-14.
The idea in adding Turner was to install another playmaker with some scoring pop to liven up the Pacers' weak bench, which ranked No. 27 in the league, averaging just 26.5 points per game. The 6-foot-7 Turner needs the ball to be successful, though, and the 6-foot-5 Stephenson had done well as a playmaker earlier in the season.
Hanging over the addition? Both Stephenson, 25, and Turner, 25, are on track to become free agents this summer, with the former expected to be one of the more coveted players on the market. There has been much speculation about whether the Pacers, who have already committed big dollars to All-Stars Paul George and Roy Hibbert, would be able to pay to retain Stephenson. The two players were theoretically pitted against each other when it came to earning potential, regardless of whether their paydays would come from the Pacers or an outside suitor.
The move from Philadelphia, the league's second-worst team, to Indiana, the East's No. 1 seed, has brought a dramatic reduction in Turner's playing time and his offensive opportunities.
- Turner in Philadelphia: 34.9 MPG, 17.4 PPG, 6 RPG, 3.7 APG, 15.4 FGA per game, 42.8% shooting
- Turner in Indiana: 21.1 MPG, 7.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.4 APG, 7 FGA per game, 41.1% shooting
The impact of Turner's arrival hasn't dramatically altered Stephenson's per-game numbers, but his production has slipped across the board since the move was made.
- Stephenson, pre-Turner: 35.3 MPG, 14.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 5.2 APG, 11.4 FGA per game, 49.8% shooting
- Stephenson, post-Turner: 34.9 MPG, 13.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.4 APG, 10.7 FGA per game, 47.6% shooting
Perhaps the biggest change? Stephenson's passing numbers. His assist-to-turnover ratio has dropped from 1.91 prior to Turner's arrival to 1.27 after Turner's arrival, and his assist ratio has fallen from 25.3 pre-Turner to 19.1 post-Turner.
It's worth mentioning at this point that Hibbert expressed his displeasure with the lack of ball movement following a March 28 loss to the Wizards.
"Some selfish dudes in here," Roy Hibbert told NBA.com. "Some selfish dudes. I'm tired of talking about it. We've been talking about it for a month."
In that game, Indiana registered 13 assists as a team: George went 6-for-22 and had no assists, Stephenson went 3-for-13 and had four assists, and Turner went 0-for-4 with one assist.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel later told the media that he would have preferred that Hibbert keep his comments in-house.
After losing 101-93 in Game 1 to the Hawks -- in embarrassing fashion, no less -- the Pacers rebounded to score a sound win in Game 2, 101-85.
The impact of the reported fight doesn't directly translate into the boxscores from Indiana's two games against Atlanta, as both Turner and Stephenson put up better lines in the Game 1 loss rather than the Game 2 defeat.
Turner posted nine points (on 4-for-6 shooting), seven rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes in Game 1. He tallied three points (on 1-for-1 shooting), two rebounds, and two assists in 11 minutes in Game 2.
Stephenson, meanwhile, scored 19 points (on 8-for-18 shooting) and added seven rebounds and one assist in 35 minutes in Game 1. He finished with seven points (on 3-for-6 shooting), five assists and three rebounds in 25 minutes in Game 2.
Indiana (No. 1) and Atlanta (No. 8) are deadlocked at one game apiece in their series. Game 3 is set for Philips Arena on Thursday.
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