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Report: Pacers’ Lance Stephenson, Evan Turner got in fight day before Game 1

Apr 23, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game One Getty Images

There has been an easily apparent tension brewing between Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner for a while, one of the seeming myriad of issues surrounding the Pacers as they stumbled into the playoffs.

That Turner/Stephenson feud boiled over into a fight where swings were taken and the pair had to be separated by teammates, all on the eve of the Pacers Game 1 loss to the Hawks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Two Indiana Pacers dragged a cursing, cut Evan Turner out of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court, untangling him from a practice-floor fistfight with teammate Lance Stephenson.

Turner hadn’t been the first Pacer to lose his temper with Stephenson these tumultuous several weeks, and Stephenson’s relentlessly irritable nature suggests Turner won’t be the last. These scrapes aren’t uncommon in the NBA, but this confrontation had been weeks in the making and that reflected in the ferocity of the encounter, sources told Yahoo Sports.

I imagine with the way those two have played of late more than one Pacer player would like to have stepped back like this was a hockey fight and let it go on for a bit before stepping in.

Both players have been at the center of concerns about the team’s slide coming into the playoffs. Stephenson is seen as someone who the second half of the season (particularly after not making the All-Star Team) seemed to share the ball less and be more concerned about his own numbers (this is a contract year for him). Turner was given the ball and a green light in Philly, but in Indiana has to work off the ball in more of a team system and that has not always gone smoothly.

Neither played much of a role in the Pacers bounce-back win in Game 2 over Atlanta Tuesday night. Stephenson had 7 points on 6 shots, Turner hit the one shot he took all night. The Pacers can get by for a night against the Hawks without them scoring, but they will need much more from both as the playoffs grind on.

Indiana needs to spend this off-season really thinking about whether these guys are part of the team’s future, and if so at what price? My guess is that price is not as high as either thinks he deserves.

  1. jayrandle - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    Lance Stephenson is talented…but Dude has issues.
    And eventually his act will wear then.

    • jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      You don’t know Lance and you can’t spell thin

      • reesesteel23 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:29 AM

        You know Lance? Why call him out? O, and you didn’t use any punctuation in that “sentence”.

      • jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        O? The word Oh is spelled with a single “O”? I am pretty sure that is just a letter.
        Is Jay Bilas spelled wrong? Should it just be a “J”?

      • spthegr8 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        Lance is a head case and Evan is a “Me” player. Larry has done a GREAT job putting this team together but I’m sure he would like to take that trade back. Lance is probably worried that Evan is there to replace him so, he is on edge. Evan is just not a good fit for this team. The ball sticks to his hand EVERY time he touches and he doesn’t know how to play off the ball. This team’s chemistry is in SHAMBLES!!!!!

      • connorchew - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:58 AM

        He can take his “problems” and bring them right to philly

      • jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:07 AM

        Lance is staying in Indiana as long as Larry Bird is in Indiana.
        Larry Legend is Lance’s biggest supporter and will pay him with his own money if he has to in order to keep him in the blue and gold.

      • money2long - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        Lol. He got you to use punctuation …

      • jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        Yea he did.

      • brutl - Apr 23, 2014 at 7:52 PM

        Yeah, he did. Watch and learn, junior.

      • jkirby317 - Apr 25, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        he did what? spell thin correctly? Junior? Internet muscles in full effect.

    • bballhistorian - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      ESPN’s article actually takes it a few steps further:

      – Lance Stephenson has fought George Hill earlier this season
      – Roy Hibbert’s “selfish” comment was actually directed at Stephenson
      – Coach Vogel is coaching FOR HIS JOB
      – Team actually didnt want Brian Shaw leaving (to the Nuggets)

      And if you look at the TABLOIDS (who does, except maybe me)….

      – A (unnamed Pacers star player) slept with another player wife eariler this year…coaching staff is trying to keep everything in line.

      No matter what is true or not—-the Pacers are in TROUBLE!

  2. 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:11 AM

    Takes more than video bombing and team photos to be Miami boys.

    • kb2408 - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      And it takes more than 1 title over a very raw OKC, and a gift title from the Spurs to be the greatest team ever…which is what Heat “fans” and several pundits proclaimed the Heatles to be when they were put together. 2 is a far cry from not 5, not 6, not 18, huh?

      • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        a ring is a ring, get over it bro lol

      • bucrightoff - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:59 AM

        The Heat have played in the weakest conference in NBA history since 2011. That’s why the big 3 are going nowhere. They basically get a bye to the Finals.

        But if Pacer fans or anyone else wanna be like Heat fans, leaving the game early would be a good start.

      • jw1991 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:25 AM

        telling me you wouldn’t take it?

      • kinggw - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        Can we stop with the weak conference bit? To get to the Finals last year the Spurs beat a horrible Laker team, and one dimensional teams in GSW and Memphis, not exactly world beaters.

        Regardless of whether or not the East is weaker than West, the Heat still beat the Spurs and Thunder. Stop making excuses.

    • jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:38 AM

      Pacers are built not bought.
      What happens to South Beach when LBJ leaves?

      • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM

        “pacers are built not bought” how has that worked out for them in franchise history?? i’d rather have a “bought” ring(s) than “building” for the ENTIRETY of my franchise to not have one lmao..

        ps i love built cars though lol

      • deeballer - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:01 AM

        Really? The Pacers drafted David Wesley? Fact is you can’t even overpay for players when they know that they have to live in Indianapolis most of the year.

      • jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:02 AM

        deeballer was the last time you followed basketball in 1996?
        David Wesley is 43 years old and way smaller than David West (totally different players).
        Do all NBA players look the same to you?

      • therealhtj - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:23 AM

        If you’re talking about David West, no they obviously didn’t draft him. He’s the type of free agent acquisition that small markets covet: above average but not great player, not looking nor never getting a max payday, and wasn’t getting richer offers anywhere else or even comparable offers from bigger markets or teams already in contention.

        You can puff your chest out about finally signing something better than a total journeyman free agent, but a guy past his peak coming off knee surgery isn’t exactly like a perennial all star coming into the fold.

        Coincidentally, David Wesley was more the type of FA you could see signing with the Pacers. He’s a little old now, but he obviously would’ve been a better fit than Evan Turner. Look him up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Wesley

      • jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:59 AM

        David West > David Wesley.
        BTW the Pacers have C.J. Watson who is a David Wesley type player (PG/SG)

      • dacapt704 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:25 AM

        David West, George Hill (2 starters that were acquired via trade) not to mention key reserves like Scola, Turner & Mahimmi were also not drafted by the Pacers….that argument is useless, there is nothing against the rules to build your team via free agency/trade so spare the “Miami bought a title crap”

        Didn’t hear ppl crying that when the LAL went out and stole Pau (at the time it was a steal) then picked up Odom, Artest, Ariza and other key pieces to their title team. Either you want to win or you dont…no one cares how you built your team as long as you bring home the ‘chip

      • therealhtj - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:35 AM

        What happens to South Beach when LBJ leaves?

        Well it’s still South Beach. It’s got great weather, beautiful scenery, beautiful women, and an amazing lifestyle. Not to mention no state taxes.

        A max level FA will give it due consideration.

        Indy? You’re kidding right?

      • jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:52 AM

        Indy is building it’s team and is not in need of a max level FA. That would be buying your team.
        Do you really not get it? The Pacers acquired their team piece-by-piece and not by grabbing max level guys every 3-4 years. Built not bought.

      • therealhtj - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        @jkirby – not the point, no max level free agent is ever going to even consider Indy.

      • jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        that is the point. The pacers have to build the team through the draft process and add pieces via individual trades. They cannot sign 3 max level players at once.
        They do not want to…built not bought.
        A blueprint not just something to say to piss off heat “fans.”

      • therealhtj - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:45 PM

        Indy has no choice but to build a team – they couldn’t buy one even if they had the money to.

        You denizens of podunk really don’t get it. You can’t get big money TV deals, and can’t compete for free agents. Unless you luck out in the draft and get at least 2 all-star caliber players in short order, you won’t bring fans to the arena and should find yourself in full fledged tank mode.

        This is because of a CBA your teams demanded. They needed to handicap the process just to get to something resembling an even playing field.

        And for the love of everything holy, please don’t bring up San Antonio. Take award Robinson and Duncan, and they’re competing with Milly and Philly for ping pong balls on an annual basis.

        Built not bought. Keep repeating that like it means something. You built not bought a near championship caliber team. You’d have happily bought one if it were even a remote possibility.

  3. kb2408 - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    A few fisticuffs never hurt a team, just ask the Bad Boy Pistons or MJ’s Bulls. Isiah, Laimbeer and MJ were known for throwing left hooks in practice. Sometimes you gotta let em fly!!

    • reesesteel23 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      Just ask Chris Childs

      • money2long - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:31 AM

        Who

  4. dolphindubs - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    @kb2408

    Have they been together for 5, 6, or 18 years yet?

    Shelf your criticism until the scope of their time together is over. Maybe they won’t win more than two, but they still have ample time to win quite a few more.

    Let it play out man.

    • therealhtj - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      Depends on your definition of quite a few. DWade’s knees don’t even have quite a few seasons left in them, and as great as Lebron’s been, that doesn’t last forever either. He’s only got a peak season or two left in him before father time begins to wear on him.

      Short of them all opting out and taking an unprecedented paycut to convince someone like Melo to join them and take a similar paycut, their window closes long before they could even contend for more rings. A small paycut to add a role player might be feasible, but giving up near 10mil/yr? I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • kb2408 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      Let it play out?! We have watched it play out for the last 3 years. This is Miami’s last chance to get another ring with the Big 3. In case you haven’t been watching, OKC has a younger and better Big 3 that might even win it all this season.

      • kinggw - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        Didn’t you say last year was Miami’s last chance to get a ring?

  5. dolphindubs - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    @bucrightoff

    Didnt you watch Game 1 where Indiana got whacked by the Hawks? Fans were gone with quite a few minutes left.

    • bucrightoff - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      Why did you respond? You realize everyone against the Heat has the trump card here right? Thousands leaving a close out game in the NBA Finals when the game wasn’t even close to over? That one is tarred on Heat fans forever. You can never complain about people mocking your fanbase for that very moment.

  6. unxpexted1 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    I was wondering why it seemed like in last night’s game( I didn’t watch game 1), that Lance, when sent to the bench, would be standing near the corridor behind and away from the team and not on the bench.

  7. jw1991 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Who cares if you bought your team or built it? The Eagles bought a “dream team” couple years back and how’d that work out?

    • time4complaints - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      Only Vince Young thought the referenced Eagles team was a dream team.

      • jw1991 - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        true but they still bought a lot of free agents is what I was really getting at

  8. andiroid71 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Lance is a nutter. He’s led by his emotions. That can be good, or it can be very bad. And yes, your team mates can get tired of it. Talented yes, but a crazy nutter all the same.

  9. jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    LOL @ David Wesley.

  10. dolphindubs - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    @bucrightoff

    A handful is hardly ever representative of the majority. Yeah it was pretty sad a bunch started leaving early, but there were WAY more fans still in their seats even though a made free throw or two would have put the game out of reach and given the Spurs the win. Why dont you mention those fans eh?

    And I am guessing that would have happened in every city, with every teams fans having a handful leaving early in a situation like that.

    Keep on hating though.

    • bucrightoff - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      No it wouldn’t have happened in every city. It happens pretty frequently in two cities: Los Angeles and Miami…the two cities in America that are the biggest bandwagoning cities. Not a coincidence. If the Heat don’t win the title this year I expect 75-90% of Heat fans will be nowhere to be found on this site.

      Also please stop using the term “hating”. The only people who use that term are 16 year olds or those with an IQ around that of a 16 year old.

      • renbidoni - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        Good god you are a hater

      • renbidoni - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        Good god you are a hater.

      • bucrightoff - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        Good God you are 16.

  11. reesesteel23 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    All Pro Annoying Team

    PG Patrick Beverly
    SG Lance Stevenson
    SF Shane Battier
    PF Joakim Noah
    C Steven Adams

    • jeffkx - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      As a Cavalier fan, I would like to nominate Spencer Hawes for All-Pro Annoying 2nd team. He was only here for half the season, but he literally whined after 99.99% of the fouls he got called against him.

      • xmen1906 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        Tim Duncan whines on 99.999% of his fouls

      • jeffkx - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:22 AM

        True, but Tim Duncan is Tim Duncan and Spencer Hawes is Spencer Hawes. Little bit of a difference there. That wasn’t your best comment there pal.

    • xmen1906 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:50 AM

      Matt Barnes off the bench

  12. jkirby317 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    The way the team looked in the second half of the game last night was reminiscent of the type of play from this team in the early part of the season.
    If that means that Lance needs to fight Evan Turner every practice until the finals…I’m cool with it.

    (Just at practice though…)

  13. nykfanwakemeupin2015 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    Lance has all the talent in the world but he is the epitome of East New York ghetto…..Dudes got a bad attitude

  14. rhetoric1 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    This implosion is delicious. Really upset they had to ruin it and win yesterday’s game, else we really would’ve seen what this team is made of with the media coming down on them for going 0-2. Regardless, we’ll see how this holds up with their current 13% win rate, iirc, @ Atlanta home games.

  15. jeffkx - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Any guesses where Lance ends up next season? There was talk around Cleveland that if the Cavs end up trading Dion then the Cavs may take a look at Lance. Mike Brown (if he comes back) is said to love SGs who can rebound. Plus, the Cavs may have been greasing the wheels by giving Scott Hopson (who shares the same agent as Lance) $1.3m for the final ten games of the season. Don’t know if this has any merit or not, but that’s what I heard.

  16. eagles512 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    Stephenson is a complete punk

  17. money2long - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    I remember telling u guy teammates fighting in practice is more common than u think

  18. shuttaman1990 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    Good, let it all out and translate it on the court to get back to that level of playing they had that put them first in the east.

  19. spyder9669 - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    So you are saying Miami has all these great things to attract free agents…..you didn’t mention how Indiana owned them for many many years before they purchased the Big 3. Was there crappy weather and fat chicks in Miami during that time?

    • kinggw - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      Indiana does hold a regular season matchup advantage against the Heat all time(55-40). In the playoffs, the Heat have won two out of three series and 10 of the 19 games. So when it counts, Indiana doesn’t own anything.

  20. bubbalynch - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    Lance’s role model growing up was Ron Artest, go figure!

  21. themagicfanguy - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Man, these comment sections sure are crowded ever since all the bandwagon Laker fans became bandwagon Heat fans. In a few years an article about the Heat won’t even get 20 comments, that’s why I laugh every time the bandwagoners lie and try to act like they really are fans of the team. Pathetic, you have to follow a player from team to team to make yourselves feel like winners.

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