Things continue to get heated in rivalry between two Eastern Conference giants.
Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson has insisted that LeBron James has shown a “sign of weakness” after engaging in trash talk in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Miami Heat won Game 3 on Saturday night to take a 2-1 series lead against their rivals, and they host Game 4 on Monday hoping to drive home their advantage prior to heading back to Indiana.
Despite playing an integral role in the win, James was seen guarding Stephenson closely at times as the two exchanged words on a regular basis.
While the Heat star has since responded by insisting that the main goal is to help his team win, Stephenson believes that he could potentially have an advantage over him.
“To me, it’s a sign of weakness,” Stephenson said, as reported by ESPN.
“[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.”
Stephenson has a history with James which dates back to the 2012 playoffs when he made a “choke” sign towards him from the bench after he missed a clutch free throw.
While the Pacers guard has since emerged as a real threat averaging 17.3 points and 6.7 assists in three games in this series, James has out-performed him to this point and will be fully focused on extending the Heat’s advantage.
James is averaging 24.3 points and 7.3 rebounds along with six assists per game in the Eastern Conference Finals, and is keen to downplay the individual rivalries and make it about the teams as a whole.