May 27, 2014, 11:11 AM EDT
Shockingly, It didn’t work.
Afterward, both players were asked about Stephenson’s pre-game trash-talk comments.
I don’t need any motivation. I’m motivated enough to try to get back to the Finals. That’s motivating enough. Being one of the leaders of this team, I have to do my job. I have to do my part to help us win. And That’s what it’s all about.
Do I find him comical? Uh, I got a smirk out of it.
Stephenson, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
“I have no regrets,” Stephenson said. “I tried to play ball, I tried to get inside his head and I guess he stepped up and got the win. I can take the heat, I can take the fire.”
It’s impossible to know just how much Stephenson affected LeBron. Of course, LeBron wants to minimize the perceived impact an opponent can have on him. But it wouldn’t be surprising at all if LeBron used Stephenson’s comments to summon extra energy and focus.
And good for Stephenson for owning his words. This should be a learning experience for him, but he can’t reverse it. There’s no point pretending it didn’t happen.
Just don’t do it again.
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