"The way we played in this game, you have to respect that". And just like that, this moribund Pacers team thought to be without hope for any postseason success had a heartbeat. Since then, he bounced around the league and never really relocated that unsteady balance of craziness and ability. I just tried to get a rebound, some assists and once I got that assist from Paul it was like, "Alright, here we go, now I'm good" and all my shots started falling. The terms of the contract infer a rotation role for Stephenson, but it was unclear how he'd be integrated so late in the season. Quickly, Stephenson's time in Charlotte turned into a short stint, rather than a new start for him.
Stephenson looks to be a real rotation piece for the Pacers going forward. Instead, he averaged 25.8 minutes in just 51 games.
It hasn't been long - five days to be exact - when one wondered whether Lance Stephenson could salvage his National Basketball Association career.
But he did have a nice bounce-back to the season in Memphis. The Pacers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Atlantic, 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games playing on 1 days rest and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Still, it wasn't meant to be.
Following a P.J. Tucker missed shot from range, the Pacers got the ball and it was thrown ahead to Lance Stephenson with six seconds left and nobody in front of him.
Neither place worked out and, although he wasn't noticeably bad, it just seemed like nobody really needed his services anymore.
There's no doubt the Pacers benefited from the Lance Effect tonight, Stephenson was was vintage in the most positive sense, but he brought not only unity at the end, but excitement throughout the fourth quarter that the Pacers also haven't shown often this season. Teague leads in assists with 7.8 per game.
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Teague's 3-pointer with 8:41 remaining in the third quarter gave in a 58-57 lead, its first of the game. Neither team could vanquish the other until the very last of the 58 minutes.
A knock on Stephenson throughout his career has been that he may have a little too much competitive fire and confidence in himself.
Stephenson had been a free agent, and it's unclear just who the Pacers were bidding against, but Larry Bird is apparently willing to do anything to demonstrate to Paul George that IN is serious about building a contending team around him.
Indiana Pacers Starting Lineup: PG Jeff Teague, SG Monta Ellis, SF Paul George, PF Thaddeus Young, C Myles Turner. Unsurprisingly, he picked up five personal fouls.
Tough to argue with Stephenson on this one.
In two games, the Pacers have transformed from a flat-line, lifeless bunch of strangers circling the drain into an emotional, confident band of brothers fighting for a playoff berth that suddenly seems to mean a whole lot more than it did a week ago. Whether they make it or not, after a disappointing season and important decisions looming, their challenges are only just beginning.
The Pacers lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 135-130 in double overtime on Sunday night. "Lance probably didn't even know what the clock was".