The NBA has fined Pacers guard Lance Stephenson $10,000 for his second flop on Heat forward LeBron James during the Eastern Conference finals. Stephenson is now the first player to be fined for flopping on four separate occasions since the NBA instituted its new anti-flopping program prior to the 2012-13 season.
Stephenson's second flop occurred during Indiana's 93-90 victory in Game 5 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.
Stephenson was previously fined $5,000 during the series for flopping against James during Miami's Game 2 victory. In addition, Stephenson was warned twice for flopping during the regular season, incurring a $5,000 fine for his second violation. He was also fined for flopping during the 2013 playoffs.
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.
Stephenson will now be subject to the postseason fine scale for flopping.
Violation 1: $5,000 fine
Violation 2: $10,000 fine
Violation 3: $15,000 fine
Violation 4: $30,000 fine
If a player violates the anti-flopping rule five times or more, he will be subject to discipline that is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.
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 ashok gamer