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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Lance Stephenson: LeBron James trash talking is sign of weakness

Lance StephensonThe Indiana Pacers may have lost Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat, but Lance Stephenson thinks he is in LeBron James’ head.

Stephenson said after the Pacers’ practice on Sunday that it was rare of James to engaged in trash talk with him the way he did during the first half of Game 3 on Saturday.

“To me, it’s a sign of weakness,” Stephenson said after the Pacers’ practice Sunday via ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “[People] used to say that to me. I’m going to do something to get you mad. Now he’s trying to do it to me. I feel like there’s a weakness and I feel like I’m doing something right to get underneath his skin.”

To his credit, James says he won’t instigate but will respond to a trash talker if he wants to. He also says he can do that without losing focus over what’s most important: winning.

“I’m not much of a talker but I can,” James said. “I don’t ever start it but I can get involved in it and still keep my head. Winning the game is more important. I understand what the main goal is.”

Stephenson has a history with trying to mess with LeBron. In 2012, he made a choking gesture during Game 3 of an Eastern Conference semifinal game between the teams after LeBron missed a technical free throw. He later apologized. But Stephenson says he will not back down to James, whom he calls the best player in the league. And as we saw in his incident this season with Dwyane Wade, Stephenson is not afraid of anyone.

As much as Stephenson may be pumping himself up mentally by challenging the top players, we don’t think he’s in James’ head the way he thinks. But, hey, whatever gives him the mental edge.

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