Lance Stephenson admits trash-talking LeBron James was a mistake
No regrets? No longer.
Before Game 4, Stephenson said LeBron's trash-talk was "a sign of weakness," believing he had gotten in the two-time defending champion's head by getting him to talk back on the floor. But that alleged weakness didn't come through in Monday's game. Instead, LeBron totaled 32 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a 102-90 victory to help the Heat take a 3-1 lead. Stephenson, on the other hand, scored just nine points and didn't score his first basket until the fourth quarter.
After the game, Stephenson boldly stood by his comments and didn't regret calling out LeBron in the media.
“I have no regrets,” he said. “‘I was just trying to play ball. I guess [James] stepped up and got the win. I can take the heat.”
But the Pacers star eventually backtracked on Wednesday, explaining that the war of words may have "bothered" the Pacers.
"It's part of the game," Stephenson said. "I think I said some things that shouldn't have been said. "Also Paul (George). We just gotta play basketball and stop worrying about all the other stuff."
“You can’t tell me we’re not aggressive," George said. "Maybe we’re too aggressive. We’re just as aggressive as they are attacking the basket and making plays at the rim. Maybe this was just home cooking.”
While those comments caught the NBA's ire, George made other comments that ruffled the Heat's feathers, claiming Indiana outplayed Miami in Game 4 despite the loss.
“Looking at the stat sheet we outplayed them,” George said. “You have to give them credit, they won this game at the free throw line. They really just were able to get to the line more than we were. I thought we outplayed them tonight."
On Wednesday, George said he knew a fine was coming but had to get some things off his chest.
"I knew I was going to get fined. I was just speaking my mind," he said. It's just how I felt the game was going."
(H/T Indianapolis Star)
More SI.com NBA playoff coverage
STERLING COVERAGE: Why NBA won’t allow Sterling’s wife to control ClipsGreatest upsets NBA playoffs fashion LeBron’s best playoff games