INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Chalk it up to Lance Stephenson being Lance Stephenson.
The Pacers guard, playing in his second game after rejoining the team last week, put an exclamation mark on Tuesday’s comeback win against the Raptors with a late, wide open layup.
It was completely unnecessary.
But it was also completely Lance.
The layup came with 3.3 seconds left with the Pacers holding a double-digit lead against the Raptors. Indiana only needed to run out the clock, but Stephenson had other ideas.
Toronto didn’t appreciate the late score. The Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan, DeMarre Carroll and P.J. Tucker met Stephenson at halfcourt to let him know what they thought of the gesture. The exchange led to a review and a technical foul.
Paul George sank the resulting free throw to seal the 108-90 victory in front of the home crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
After the game, Tucker derided the late bucket as “tasteless.” DeRozan told reporters that Stephenson broke an old, unwritten rule.
“He shot a layup when the game was over, you know, that’s disrespect to the game,” DeRozan said.
Pacers star Paul George said Stephenson should’ve known better.
“That’s, like, a cardinal rule to not lay the ball up when you’re up,” George said. “But he did it. It’s the reason why Lance is Lance.”
Stephenson was apologetic after the game and admitted the crowd got him fired up.
“I just want to say sorry to everyone,” Stephenson said. “I didn’t mean no harm. The crowd was cheering me on and I just wanted to do it for the fans. But I just wanted to say sorry, and I didn’t mean no hard feelings from it.”
Stephenson finished with 12 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists in 25 minutes. The Pacers improved to 38-40 with the win and remain in the playoff hunt.
In celebration of Stephenson’s return to Indiana, the Pacers are offering $6 Balcony Level tickets to both of the Pacers’ two remaining regular season home games. The offer is only available today until 4 p.m. You can purchase tickets on the Pacers’ website.