Pacers guard Lance Stephenson flopped on Heat forward LeBron James during Indiana's 93-90 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.
With a little more than eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and Indiana up 77-68, Paul George brought the ball up the court as James shadowed him defensively. Stephenson maneuvered himself in such a way to set an indirect screen for George near midcourt, and James' right arm appeared to make light contact with Stephenson as he ran by. Stephenson responded by flailing his arms and crashing to the court, but the over-the-top effort did not prove successful in drawing a whistle.
James was in foul trouble all night, and Stephenson was hoping to draw a sixth foul on James, which would have required an automatic ejection. Even so, James finished with a playoff-low seven points (on 2-for-10 shooting), four assists and two rebounds, while committing three turnovers in just 24 minutes.
It's possible that Stephenson's embellishment could earn him a fine from the NBA. He has already been fined $5,000 during the series for flopping against James. A second fine would cost Stephenson $10,000.
It was a night full of hijinks for Stephenson, who walked into the Heat's huddle and blew into James' ear at various points down the stretch. The good news: Stephenson’s busy night ended with a victory. He finished with 12 points (on 4-for-11 shooting), five rebounds and five assists.
George registered a game-high 37 points (on 15-of-28 shooting), six rebounds, two assists and six steals to lead the Pacers to the season-extending victory.
Chris Bosh led the Heat with 20 points (on 9-of-21 shooting) and 10 rebounds, but he missed a potential game-winning three-pointer on Miami’s final possession.
The Heat lead the series 3-2. Game 6 is in Miami on Friday. Miami is seeking its fourth straight trip to the Finals.
Video via YouTube user tzoumiman