Pacers guard Lance Stephenson engaged in some reconnaissance behind enemy lines by sidling up next to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra as he huddled with his players during Indiana's 93-90 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.
You occasionally see players enter their opponents' huddles on the court before or after free throws, but rarely do you see a player so brazenly approach an opposing coach as he's giving instructions to his team. Stephenson is a rare breed, of course, so perhaps we shouldn't even think twice that he would line up next to Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole as Spoelstra doled out a play.
“I wanted to hear what he had to say and what they were trying to do on offense," Stephenson explained afterwards, according to Pacers.com. "They was trying to run a [pick-and-roll] and I heard it."
Stephenson really pulled out all the stops as Indiana staved off elimination, flopping on LeBron James and even blowing into James' ear at one point. The most important thing: Stephenson's busy night ended with a victory. He finished with 12 points (on 4-for-11 shooting), five rebounds and five assists.
Paul 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. James scored just seven points (on 2-for-10 shooting) and tallied four assists and two rebounds, while committing three turnovers.
The Heat now hold a 3-2 series lead over the Pacers. Game 6 is set for Miami’s American Airlines Arena on Friday. Miami is seeking its fourth straight trip to the Finals.