The Indiana Pacers have the reputation of a tough, no-nonsense team that places defense first, last and always. Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson, with his rugged game and omnipresent snarl, is the embodiment of the Pacers Way.
But in the modern NBA, even tough players on tough teams flop from time to time, and Stephenson is no exception. According to the website Inside Hoops, the NBA has fined Stephenson for his second flopping violation of the year.
The violation came on Monday in a nationally televised game against the Golden State Warriors. Here is the video. You be the judge.
Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson put his arm into Stephenson, and Stephenson fell to the ground rather demonstrably, turning his eyes searchingly toward the referee the second he hit the ground. Thompson is not exactly little; Basketball Reference lists him at 6'7" and 205 pounds. But the 6'5", 210-pound Stephenson isn't exactly a dainty little fellow himself.
That first flop was certainly more dramatic. Stephenson dove through the air like an '80s action movie star jumping out of an exploding building. If anything, the NBA should show that replay in super slow motion. It should be noted that Lowry is listed at 6'0", 175 pounds, much lighter than Stephenson.
Per the Indianapolis Star's Michael Pointer, Stephenson owned up to his offense against the Raptors: "I had to sell a foul. I was falling out of bounds and didn't want it to be a no-call and a turnover. That's why I overreacted."
Stephenson and the Pacers were eliminated by the flop-happy Miami Heat in last year's Eastern Conference Finals. It was a seven-game series that featured more diving than the Summer Olympics. Perhaps the Pacers have learned from the masters.