Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Lance Stephenson, Erik Spoelstra

Lance Stephenson invades Heat huddle, appears to tick off Erik Spoelstra (video)


As the referees reviewed a foul call late in the third quarter of Game 5, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called Norris Cole toward the bench to offer instruction.

Pacers forward Lance Stephenson joined the conversation, and Spoelstra looked none too pleased.

Invading opponent’s huddles happens – nobody has done it better than Marcin Gortat – but I understand why Spoelstra is upset. Lance is a pest, trying to get under everyone’s skin. Whether that’s blowing in LeBron James’ ear or calling out LeBron publicly, Stephenson is not afraid to toe the line or maybe even cross it right into a discussion between a Miami coach and player.

After the game, LeBron was asked about Stephenson’s antics. Watch how he inflects the word “professionals.”

I don’t really – I mean, I’m just here to play basketball, man. All the extracurricular activities, I don’t really get into. I mean, I’m just trying to win. We need one more game to get the Finals. That’s my only concern.  We put ourselves in a position to win tonight, and as competitors, as PROFESSIONALS, that’s what we are. At the end of the day, we put ourselves in a position to win. All the extra, whatever Lance wants to deal with, I don’t really care about that.

I’ve been impressed how LeBron and Dwyane Wade have answered questions about the Pacers’ ridiculousness with straight faces. You don’t think part of LeBron just wanted to rail on Stephenson for the pain he is? But LeBron and Wade keep taking the high road.

So, I love that very slight emphasis on  “professionals.” Excellently and subtly done, LeBron.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Clippers ready to win West?

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With our PBT Extra videos, we are previewing the entire NBA by using bold predictions, starting in the Pacific Division (we already did the Warriors).

Some of those predictions come from fans on Twitter where I had sent out a request, including the bold prediction for the Clippers.

It could happen, they are certainly contenders. But two things need to happen.

The big one is their defense, which was middle of the pack last season, needs to move into the top 10 (and DeAndre Jordan needs to play consistently like a guy who is third in Defensive Player of the Year voting).

Second is the new and improved bench unit of Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford (he’s not new) need to mesh into a unit. Those are three guys who like to create for themselves and make questionable shot choices, getting them play well with others could be a bumpy road.

Stephen Curry gives high five while his shot is in air (video)

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Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.

His swagger certainly remains intact.