Lance Stephenson had a decent game offensively in the Indiana Pacers' Game 5 win over the Miami Heat with 12 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds, but even more impressive was how he guarded LeBron James.
Presumably he is trying to distract James when he blows into his ear, and LeBron can only chuckle.
Lance drew the assignment Wednesday to guard LeBron James and clearly he relished it.
He didn't stop there. Towards the end of the third quarter, Lance casually strolled into a Heat huddle to listen in on Erik Spoelstra’s conversation with Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers. Spoelstra carried on talking and completely ignored him.
It’s certainly not the first time that has happened. Rajon Rondo did it to the Heat in an even more brazen fashion.
He played a big role in luring LeBron into foul trouble – James only played 24 minutes after picking up three early fouls.
LeBron lightheartedly commented afterwards that he’s blown in his wife’s ear before as a defensive tactic.
Stephenson is quickly becoming a Dennis Rodman-style aggressor on the court and the Pacers value him highly, encouraging it even, just as long as he doesn't overdo it.
Paul George speaks fondly about Lance, calling him “special” and explaining his tactics give the Pacers an edge. Lance says his goal was to make LeBron more “uncomfortable” than he had been earlier in the series.
George got the plaudits for his 31 second half points but he acknowledges the importance of his teammate’s contribution to bringing down the Miami Heat in Game 5.
Lance Stephenson has come a long way from being the last guy off the bench two years ago, and he’s doing it in his own unique way.