Regrets? Lance Stephenson has a few.
Monday Stephenson said he had no regrets about saying the day before LeBron James’ trash talking was a “sign of weakness.” LeBron responded to those comments with a smirk and his best game of the playoffs as the Heat thrashed the Pacers in Game 4. Stephenson said his no regrets line after that loss.
Wednesday at shootaround before Game 5, Stephenson was singing a different tune, reports the Indy Star.
“I think I said some things that shouldn’t have been said…” Stephenson said. “Also Paul (George). We just gotta play basketball and stop worrying about all the other stuff.”
Paul George (and David West, but more subtly) complained about the officiating after Game 4, George being deluded enough to say the Pacers outplayed the Heat in a game where the Pacers trailed by 23 at one point. The league came down on George with a $25,000 fine.
Coach Frank Vogel has talked about getting his team to focus on the things they can control, not the things they cannot.
That will be a great lesson for next season’s Pacers team, because this year’s version lost focus the second half of the regular season and that carried over to an uneven performance in the playoffs (albeit one that led to the Eastern Conference Finals).
Miami has had an uneven focus in the playoffs, too, but they didn’t let it pull them apart on the court. They are going to a fourth straight NBA Finals in part because of that. Keeping your focus under a bigger spotlight and not pointing fingers when things go wrong matters.