Lance Stephenson flopped to the court and then stayed down for a little rest during Miami’s 87-83 road victory over Indiana in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday night.
With a little under four minutes remaining in the third quarter and Indiana leading 57-54, Heat forward LeBron James pushed the ball up the court to initiate a possession. As he approached the three-point line, James attempted to pull up and Stephenson came running into him from behind. James used his right arm to brush off Stephenson, who tossed his arm in the air and flailed his head backwards as he fell to the floor.
The collision drew a whistle and, after checking to see whether he had drawn the charge, Stephenson rolled over and lay on his side once he realized he had been called for the foul. He remained motionless, as if sleeping, for a number of seconds before Paul George picked him up off the court.
Stephenson was warned twice for flopping during the regular season, incurring a $5,000 fine for his second violation. He was also fined for flopping during the 2013 playoffs.
The NBA has not handed out any flop warnings or fines during the 2014 playoffs.
Tuesday was a busy night for Stephenson, who finished with a game-high 25 points (on 10-of-17 shooting), seven assists and six rebounds in a losing effort. His consistent energy and scoring weren’t enough to prevent the Heat from evening the series at one game apiece.
“He had a spectacular game, there’s no other way to put it,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “He gives us a great edge. … He made big shots and big plays.”
James and Dwyane Wade keyed a fourth-quarter push that ultimately proved to be the difference in Game 2. James finished with 22 points (on 9-of-18 shooting), seven rebounds and six assists. Wade scored a team-high 23 points (on 10-of-16 shooting), five rebounds and five assists in the win.
Game 3 is set for Miami on Saturday night.