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LeBron, on being tapped in the face by Lance Stephenson in Game 6: ‘I have no idea how I restrained’

May 31, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Lance Stephenson was told by Pacers president Larry Bird to knock it off with the non-basketball antics in ad vance of Game 6, but perhaps sensing just how desperate his team’s situation was, Stephenson simply couldn’t help himself.

In addition to committing a flagrant foul on Norris Cole that could have easily been an ejection because of the shot to Cole’s head, Stephenson went up and tapped LeBron James in the face during a dead ball situation, with the obvious intent of trying to cause his opponent to snap.

But just as he did during the ear blowing incident in the previous game, James managed to somehow contain his reaction.

“I don’t know,” James said afterward, when asked how he was able to keep his composure. “I have no idea how I restrained. I don’t know, I guess I just understand what the bigger picture is.

“It was uncalled for, for sure,” James continued. “That was — I don’t know. I’m at a loss of words with that, but it was uncalled for, and I was able to move on from it. I let him know how I felt.”

Udonis Haslem also let Stephenson know how he felt, but with the game so far out of hand, thankfully it never came to that.

Pacers head coach Frank Vogel condemned Stephenson’s actions as being detrimental to the overall effort, saying that “it’s never good to tug on Superman’s cape.”

The Pacers have a big decision to make where Stephenson is concerned this summer. They don’t have the cap space to easily replace his skill set, but there’s no question that the way he’s performed this postseason has made it tough to justify bringing him back on a long-term deal with a large amount of guaranteed dollars attached.

  1. loubearkane - May 31, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    I was hoping Lance would have fish hooked him. Lance’s time in Indiana is over , Bird tells you to stop you stop , Bird will think he’s a bad influence on George. Maybe a Detroit-Indiana sign and trade deal involving Lance and Monroe could be done.

    • loubearkane - May 31, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      s 0 b

      Just had to down thumb me didnt you

      • loubearkane - May 31, 2014 at 4:00 PM

        Whatevs!!! Dont be Jelly I’ve been talking to babes online all day

      • apkyletexas - May 31, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        The internets are too young to remember lines from Napolean Dynamite. It’s a sad sad day.

  2. jzone954 - May 31, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    The shot on Norris Cole was uncalled for .

  3. captainwisdom8888 - May 31, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    It was truly pathetic watching some of the childish things Lance Stephenson was doing, and by doing those things he was essentially confirming to everyone out there that he simply couldn’t hang with Lebron when it mattered most. Getting the better of LBJ from a basketball standpoint was thrown out the window, and all Lance could think of doing was trying to get under the skin of King James and even that failed miserably.

    All you really accomplished, Lance, was making yourself look like a complete fool. Congrats.

    • ProBasketballPundit - May 31, 2014 at 3:50 PM

      He might have also accomplished a lesser contract with his shenanigans.

      • therealhtj - May 31, 2014 at 5:07 PM

        The best they can do with Lance is work out some kind of sign-and-trade, but for who? It’s not like the Pacers have much if any leverage, especially after his playoff antics and overall atmosphere around the team post-all star game. If they don’t re-sign him, they pretty much look like every other also-ran in the east.

        Throw that in with the reports around PG and Hibbert’s personal issues, and it really is a lose-lose. They won’t get equal value for Hibbert, but if the reports are true, he’s gone after next season anyway.

        It’s gotta suck to be the Pacers right now.

  4. papichulo55 - May 31, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    The League is playing with fire. No way in hell should the Refs let this playground $hit into the our Professional game. You would think that the NBA would be tired of non-basketball negative publicity. Those Refs need to be ‘Talked To’!

  5. loubearkane - May 31, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    I’m sick of how the league doesnt let the players police themselves , you hit our player hard we knock down your superstar when he comes to the hole.

    • jpstyles314 - May 31, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      Ask Rudy Tomjanovich about it.

    • jpstyles314 - May 31, 2014 at 4:57 PM

      Or more to your point, ask Isiah Thomas about Malone, ask Rudy Tomjanovich about Kermit Washington, ask Hibbert about the elbow he caught from Lebron.
      These men are big enough to cause serious damage, and all it takes is one good punch/elbow that can take it from enforcing to manslaughter. I don’t like watching street fights, why would I wanna see someone who is the nba equivalent of Tony Twist (NHL, his time on the Blues are only fight highlights) getting paid just to elbow, punch, and knock some helpless airborne player head over heels. It’s basketball, I watch football for violent hits.

  6. thekingdave - May 31, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    @loubearkane

    Yes, because that’s just what Detroit needs, another hot head with terrible shot selection while giving up a young big man.

    • loubearkane - May 31, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      They need a slasher/scorer playmaker , it’s not ideal but I don’t know what else is out there in a Sign & Trade with Monroe. He’s a stud and Dumars screwed Detroit signing Josh Smith

  7. ProBasketballPundit - May 31, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    I knew the Heat would beat up on Indiana in Game 6 but I was still nervous because of exactly this. I worried that Lance would goad LeBron or somebody into a fight and then the Heat would be short handed in the Finals. I honestly can’t believe the refs didn’t throw Lance out. You don’t clothesline a lose ball…

  8. cantonbound13 - May 31, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Looks like he only restrained from flopping

    • jpstyles314 - May 31, 2014 at 5:25 PM

      Normally people would say something bad, but I feel your pain. If Lebron would’ve went to the Knicks, he would just have different haters. Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the people who love the Knicks franchise, but I think any fans team that got him in free agency would welcome him with open arms.

      He chose Miami, and you couldn’t accept being looked over. Amar’e Stoudemire signed and was balling out of his mind, but his knees started acting up. All this was happening as Lebron was getting better, so you thought “It’s a good thing he hasn’t won anything” the next year was like “well he won, but he won’t win next year”. Next year same argument. Time to go back to the lab, find a new angle, the mother rumor stopped working, hell the smaller Wade mother rumor never caught traction. Think..Think….Turn on ESPN…..Think…. OTL runs a story about the MLB and PEDs…. That’s it, I will scream PEDs at the top of my lungs as I violently type…. Satisfaction Guaranteed!!!! He has muscles, so this has to stick… Please opt out and come to the Knicks Lebron. We don’t want to be the Clippers of the east…..

      DUDE…LET IT GO!
      Please, for your own mental health, stop obsessing.

      • jimeejohnson - May 31, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        Best comment ever. You’ve got that peabrain’s number, but fail to understand that he’s just not just a loser but a New Yawk loser, the most arrogant, dumb, kind. That’s what hate is: arrogance and dumb, and in a horrible cesspool like NYC, unless you’re rich you live a brutal life of dog eat dog, They don’t call it the “rat race” for nothing. I pity that loser.

    • loubearkane - May 31, 2014 at 6:16 PM

      Lebron is the biggest kid on the playground , act like it and don’t flop.

  9. jzone954 - May 31, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    @canton bound, ya know, there was actually a time when 2-3 years ago you and Mr Wright actually had respectable arguments and posts on here, what the hell happened? I mean we get it, you hate Lebron and Miami ,but son your starting to get seriously annoying with what you’ve become on this site..

    • 22yearsagotoday - May 31, 2014 at 7:11 PM

      The Miami-New York rivalry goes back to that game with Mourning, Larry Johnson, and little Jeff not that tan Van Gundy. I think some fans lack respect and it shows on their posts, while others are very respectful and post pure basketball. “Who are you, hoo-hoo, hoo-hoo?”

  10. tombstone7 - May 31, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    To be fair, LBJ did put hands on LS face in an apparent attempt to block a 3 point made bucket in LBJ face earlier…….Even the announcers said that could have been a foul, but LBJ can’t have it both ways. …I am not condoning what LS did on a dead ball foul…in fact, he needs to be sent to the D League and “develop” more maturity!

    • jpstyles314 - May 31, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      LBJ can’t have it both ways? Dead ball and defending are totally different. I can see if he was actually defending a shot, but that is not having it both ways.

      • tombstone7 - May 31, 2014 at 6:36 PM

        My point is that LBJ did something extra to appear he was going for the bakk.. faceguarding and placing his hands in the mans face.. dead ball or not, it was bush league on both of their parts…

  11. wallabear - May 31, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    The Pacers, dey be sad, hopin’ dey Three’s will help dem win. “Not one… not two… not three….”

    • stoptrippn - May 31, 2014 at 5:56 PM

      @wallbear…take off your sheet

  12. kghane - May 31, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    This is one of the reasons I like LeBron. He always thinks of the team before himself. If he retaliates, there’s a chance at ejection, or even worse, suspension. That wouldn’t be a good move for the sake of the team & winning another chip.

    Though I will say, LeBron should have been called for a foul when he hit Lance on the 3 point attempt. I understand why Lance put his hand is his face, but Lance still needs to grow up some.

  13. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 31, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Know the difference between the King and a pawn.

  14. painted8 - May 31, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    So LeBron already forgot about tapping Lance on the face on Lance’s jumper a minute before this? Or the shoulder he drove into Lance’s back after a layup in the first half? Or that he was puffing up and picking up Lance at three-quarters court?

    Not a Lance apologist: I think his slap on Cole was intentional. The replay shows him seeing that Cole had the ball, and then Lance sizes him up and pops him in the face. Just saying that LeBron obviously thinks that he’s a saint, but he wasn’t an angel out there last night either.

  15. titansbro - May 31, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Oh tough guy Lebron. Lol you miserable pos.

    • jimeejohnson - May 31, 2014 at 7:14 PM

      Titans suck. You mad, bro?

  16. stoptrippn - May 31, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    Lance isn’t established enough to do any of these things. It might of cost him 25mil.

  17. coffeeblack95616 - May 31, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Why would anyone wish the game ended before the idiot could have been smacked by Haslem? It would have been great to see a punk get what he deserves.

  18. jimeejohnson - May 31, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    No it wouldn’t. Haslem would have been suspended. Think big, not punk little like some Brooklyn loser.

  19. antistratfordian - May 31, 2014 at 7:29 PM

    To Lance’s credit, he stopped screwing with LeBron after James got in his face about it. Unfortunately Norris Cole was the recipient of the rest of Stephenson’s frustration. LeBron had to actually pull Cole aside and tell him to let it go and remember that they still have a finals series to play. #Leadership

    • moppop - Jun 1, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      Lebron will just ask UD to pull an Aaron Hernadez on Stephenson next year wherever he is. Lebron will put a bounty on Stephenson’s head.

  20. phinagain - May 31, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    For all the idiots who keep saying something about LeBron flopping, I didn’t see him do any of it this series. But i did see Lance get fined on at least two separate occasions…for flopping.

    Lance has been doing this playground taunting crap (and nothing else…) the whole series. Don’t be shocked when UD punches him in the face next year, is all I’m saying.

  21. Great Caesar's Ghost - May 31, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    Lebron knows he always has the great Dwyane Wade to bail him out. Remember, Wade carried a team to a title before the Big 3. Lebron got swept in 07. BIG difference in poise and talent. #GoHeat

  22. shag12 - Jun 1, 2014 at 1:48 AM

    He’s out of that Rodman/Artest mode: Certifiably insane.

    • jpstyles314 - Jun 2, 2014 at 3:06 AM

      Rodman and Artest were genuine, Lance is (badly) calculated.

  23. mcsuave - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Lance was the only player in America who could make Lebron haters ban together and root for Miami. Stevenson must
    Have forgotten how the 12th man on Heats bench nearly took his head off a few years ago for verbally taunting and disrespecting Lebron. Refs should call Techs for taunting on some of these antics.

  24. mackcarrington - Jun 1, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Lance seems to vastly underrate the overall maturity of LeBron. You may be a LeBron hater but you have to give him credit for being level headed, centered and focused.

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