4. LeBron James vs. Lance Stephenson
The storied playoff history between LeBron James and Lance Stephenson has taken a life of its own, even spawning an internet meme. Stephenson famously blew in LeBron’s ear back in the Heat/Pacers days and you just never know what’ll happen this time around. James has won every matchup between the two.
However, Stephenson always knows how to get into another player’s mind; it’s almost Dennis Rodman-esque. Almost. LeBron has been on an MVP tear, like every year really, so it’s expected the Cavs will make quick work of the Pacers. That said, we still anticipate a fun matchup on the court with Stephenson pulling out all the stops.
Stephenson is coming off the bench for the Pacers these days, with Bojan Bogdanovic starting. Both have an all around game with Bogdanovic better on offense and Stephenson better on defense. We’ll likely see a lot of subbing offense for defense in this series, and while LeBron will obviously get his numbers, the Pacers will provide a solid matchup. Maybe another memorable Stephenson meme classic is on the way.
Remember there will be no Paul George to rival James this year and that will significantly weaken the Pacers’ chances for any surprises. Yes, there will be a Victor Oladipo and no Kyrie Irving but this series will still be decided by LeBron.
Next: Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Al Horford