Lance Stephenson said after the Indiana Pacers’ Game 3 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday that he was in LeBron James’ head and that James engaging in trash talk with him was a sign of weakness.
Though Stephenson thought he was in LeBron’s head, James dominated Game 4 of the series on Monday to help the Heat win and take a 3-1 series lead. After the game, Sir Lancelot said he had no regrets about his comments.
But, two days later, Stephenson expressed some misgivings.
“It’s part of the game,” Stephenson said via the Indianapolis Star. “I think I said some things that shouldn’t have been said.”
Stephenson called his James dealings a “learning experience” and believes his mistake was making the comments public.
“It’s part of the game, but it’s between you and the guy on the floor,” Stephenson said of trash talking with James. “And that’s where I think I messed up. It was between me and him, not everybody else.”
“I been learning since I got in the league,” Stephenson added, per The Star. “I came a long way. And I’m gonna keep learning ’til I get to that point where I’m a real pro.”
Stephenson is only 23 and in his fourth NBA season, so he does have some learning to do. Namely, he probably realized that although trash talking with James boosted his personal confidence, it made it more difficult for the rest of the team because it fired up LeBron. That’s what he needs to balance in the future; finding ways to pump himself up when it’s not at the detriment of the rest of his team.
Maybe Lance just was trying to get “in the zone”: