Never one to shy away from confrontation, Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson said that his ability to provoke Miami Heat forward LeBron James into trash talking is a sign of weakness. Stephenson went as far as saying that, despite James being the best player in the NBA, that he will not back down.
It’s unusual for James to get involved in extensive on-court trash talk, but he engaged with Stephenson throughout the first half of the Heat’s 99-87 win.
“To me, it’s a sign of weakness,” Stephenson said after the Pacers’ practice Sunday. “[People] used to say that to me. I’m going to do something to get you mad. Now he’s trying to do it to me. I feel like there’s a weakness and I feel like I’m doing something right to get underneath his skin.”
James has guarded Stephenson occasionally in the series. Stephenson drew a charge on James in the first half as the Pacers built a 15-point lead. Shortly after the call, the players started yelling at each other, which their teammates and the crowd quickly noticed.
James said that Stephenson started it.
“I’m not much of a talker but I can,” James said. “I don’t ever start it but I can get involved in it and still keep my head. Winning the game is more important. I understand what the main goal is.”