Lance Stephenson claimed that LeBron James responding to his trash talk was a sign of weakness, proof that the enigmatic guard was getting under the King’s skin. James responded with 32 points and 10 rebounds in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Paul George suggested to the media that Stephenson was barking up the wrong tree when trying to get inside the head of the two-time champion and four-time MVP. After the game Stephenson admitted that his secret mission might have been unsuccessful, but also said that he had no regrets.
“I have no regrets,” Stephenson said, via ESPN. “I tried to play ball, I tried to get inside his head and I guess he stepped up and got the win. I can take the heat, I can take the fire.”
Pacers power forward David West seconded the fact that Stephenson should stay away from trying to make headlines and focus on the actual game, but questioned whether James’ great Game 4 performance was a result of Stephenson’s mind games. James himself essentially echoed what West said.
“I got a smirk out of it,” James said. “I don’t need any motivation. I’m motivated enough to try to get back to the Finals.”
Miami’s veteran shooter Ray Allen suggested that this should teach Stephenson a lesson.
“He’s a young kid and he’s got many more years in this league,” Allen said, “and that’s a lesson learned for him early in his career.”
Stephenson himself had a sub-par game, missing all of his four three-point attempts and scoring just 10 points, although he did have 10 rebounds and five assists.