Cavaliers: Lance Stephenson not worth 'the extra energy'


INDIANAPOLIS — Lance Stephenson certainly spiced up the fourth quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers104-100 Game 4 win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday thanks to run-ins with several Cavs players, but Cleveland insists that Stephenson’s antics won’t affect its focus.

“Honestly, it was nothing,” Jeff Green told ESPN after Stephenson was called for a foul on him with 9.0 seconds left in the game when he tried to force a jump ball and ended up bringing Green to the floor. “I mean, I may have reacted because I’m not going to allow him to do what he did, but other than that, it’s nothing.

“He’s not going to fight. I’m not going to fight. It’s not worth it. I mean, if we wanted to fight, there’s a big-ass parking lot out there and we can fight. But at the end of the day, my job is to keep my composure, go to the free throw line, knock one down and then move on. It’s not worth it to give that extra energy to him.”

Stephenson, not surprisingly, also reprised his long-standing conflict with LeBron James. With 6:12 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Cavs calling timeout with the score 91-89 in favor of Indiana, Stephenson stayed in James’ space as he made his way back to the Cleveland bench and James responded by shoving Stephenson with his forearm, resulting in a technical foul.

It was just the 16th technical foul called on James in 221 career playoff games.

“I mean, I shouldn’t have even gotten a tech in the first place,” James said after the game. “There’s a timeout called and this guy’s following me to my bench. I gave him a little nudge and he falls to half court. Come on. But I should know better. I should know better. I’ve been dealing with this since elementary [school]. It’s like I tell you a joke, you know, I tell you a joke and you laugh and you get caught. That’s what happened. Lance told me a joke, I laughed, teacher caught me, now I’ve got to go see the principal. That’s what happened.”

Later in the fourth, Stephenson tangled up with James again on the defensive end, tying him up and getting the refs to call a jump ball. Once the officials blew the whistle, signaling the jump ball to come, Stephenson stripped the ball completely from James and held it up over his head like a trophy he just won.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue laughed when Stephenson’s name was brought up during his postgame media conference, and chalked up the Pacers forward’s actions to innocent rough housing.

“You know, I love Lance,” Lue said. “He’s a throwback player. He reminds me of back when I played, when I first got in the league, guys were physical. He’s going to hit you, no easy layups. He’s going to be a physical player offensively and defensively. You love that physicality he brings and toughness. Sometimes they’re going to call it, sometimes they’re not.

“But we’ve got to do a good job just playing through the physicality, playing through all the whatever it is and just continue to keep playing. But I like his style. He comes in, he plays hard, he plays tough. Not going to back down from anyone and that’s what you need from your team. He just reminds me of an old-school player, so I like it.”



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