Before the Pacers took the court Tuesday against Miami, Dwyane Wade may or may not have been drooling with the thought of Stephenson, once the king of New York street ball, guarding him. Wade scored on Stephenson with ease from the outset and was responsible for seven of his team’s first 11 points. Stephenson, who scored seven of the Pacers’ first eight, didn’t get discouraged.
“Lance, to his credit, didn’t back down, didn’t shy away, embraced the challenge, played with physicality and offensively, he went back at Dwyane Wade and that’s something that we weren’t able to do last year in the playoffs well enough,” Vogel said.
Stephenson buried two three-pointers in the middle of third quarter Pacers and defensively, held Wade to just one field goal and seven points in the final two quarters after 23 in the first half. With a confident and determined look on his face, it was clear that he loved the head-to-head matchup.
Over the last nine games, Stephenson has scored in double figures seven times. He recorded 28 assists to just five turnovers while playing almost 31 minutes per game.
“Mainly on the court, (it’s) his confidence. His feeling that he belongs and the way he’s playing has really been a big lift to our team.”
Stephenson is just another example. With George and he playing the best basketball of their young careers and reserve point guard D.J. Augustin refreshed after a couple of starts while Hill was sidelined, this team is as confident as ever as they near the midway point of the season.