Lance Stephenson compared his return to the Indiana Pacers to Michael Jordan’s return to the Bulls. On Tuesday, Lance reminded the Pacers why he just might be the Michael Jordan of SMH and Shaqtin’ moments by ending an 18-point victory over the Raptors, who blew a 19-point first half lead, with a layup that almost caused a mini-brawl.
“I was caught in the moment.” Said Stephenson, who put up 12 points, 3 assists, 3 threes, 2 assists in his first home game with the Pacers. “I just want to say sorry to them. I didn’t mean no harm. The crowd was chanting me on and I just wanted to do it for the fans.”
He might not have intended any harm with his “for the fans” bucket but DeMar DeRozan and P.J. Tucker definitely wanted to cause some harm to him and definitely sounded like they aren’t going to accept an apology.
“Tasteless,” Tucker said after the game. “Classless. There’s nowhere in the league for that.
“Nobody care about his reputation. I could care less. I don’t even know who he is. He’s happy he just got back in the league.”
“It’s just being a professional.” Said a less angry sounding DeMar DeRozan. “I don’t care who you are or how you feel or what’s going on. It’s just the right way of playing basketball.”
When asked what he said to Lance after the layup, DeRozan paused and smiled. A reporter responded by asking if he could give a cleaned up version of what was said. he replied, “I got fined already for the tech.”
Lance’s teammate, Paul George, who scored 18 of his game-high 35 in the third quarter, admitted Lance shouldn’t have made the lay-up but had some high-praise for the man called Born Ready.
“Lance knows better,” he said. “That’s like a cardinal rule to not lay the ball up when you up. But he did it; it’s the reason why Lance is Lance. We appreciate him, man. Everything he does for this organization. He comes out here and he works his butt off.”