CLEVELAND — Dating back to his days as a member of the Miami Heat, LeBron James has enjoyed an interesting relationship with Lance Stephenson.
And on Sunday, it became so ridiculous that the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar couldn’t help but laugh.
There wasn’t much for James to smile about during the Cavs’ 98-80 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Sunday, aside from the typical antics that come with playing against Stephenson. During one moment in particular, the Pacers guard crouched so laughingly low on defense — almost mockingly — that James displayed a smirk in a clip that was made for the basketball Twittersphere.
Stephenson’s latest attempt to antagonize James — which also included multiple hard fouls, including one that was called for a technical, comes nearly four years after he memorably blew in James’ ear during an Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Heat and Pacers. Even back then, James had a similar reaction, simply shaking his head and smiling.
Despite his usual antics, Stephenson put together an impressive game, scoring 12 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. With All-Star guard Victor Oladipo scoring 32 points and James leading the Cavs with a 24-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound triple-double, the Pacers took a 1-0 lead over Cleveland, with Game 2 between the two teams coming on Wednesday.
Whether or not that will bring more memorable clips to James and Stephenson’s shared history remains to be seen.
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