Lance Stephenson ejected after getting in Dwyane Wade’s face (VIDEO)

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Lance Stephenson is who he is because he plays with emotion, with a chip on his shoulder.

But what he did against the Heat was stupid.

It started in the third quarter when Stephenson and Dwyane Wade picked up a double technical for a little shoving match (seen below). Frankly, the double tech on that was a cop-out by the refs — I would have let it go, if anyone deserved one it was Wade — but once the ruling comes down you have to know you have a “T” you have to rein it in a little.

Stephenson didn’t. With five minutes to go in a close game Stephenson made a nice move and scored, then as he ran back by Wade he got in his face and chirped. He said some words that caught the referee’s ear (or at least it was how he said nothing). Stephenson got another technical for it, that got him tossed. No, it wasn’t a good call, but that’s not the point for Stephenson.

It was his emotions getting the better of him — it doesn’t matter if you don’t like the call, once he got his first technical he could not get in Wade’s face like that. Stephenson is too key to this Pacers team in creating half-court offense to get ejected in important games like this (he had 15 points on the night).

David West said the same thing postgame, and said it to Stephenson.

The Pacers need Stephenson and he made a stupid mistake that could have hurt his team.

But it didn’t. The Pacers picked up an 84-83 win in one of the best games of the season. But the games are only going to get more intense, more emotional, and Stephenson has to keep his head about him.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.