Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert have been fined for flopping in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. According to Scott Agness of Pacers.com, Hibbert was docked with a $5,000 fine since it was his first violation of the postseason, but Stephenson was handed a $10,000 fine for being a repeat offender:
Roy Hibbert fined $5,000 for his first flopping violation. Lance Stephenson slapped with a $10,000 fine for his second violation.— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) May 29, 2014
As Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver noted, the 23-year-old shooting guard is the first to have run afoul of the NBA's flopping rules four times since their inception:
Lance Stephenson becomes first player to be fined four times for violating the NBA’s anti-flopping program, which started in 2012-13 season.— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 29, 2014
Both of the flops came in the fourth quarter of the Pacers' 93-90 win.
NBA on ESPN captured a still image of Stephenson falling dramatically to the floor with 8 minutes and 23 seconds to go in the game after making contact with LeBron James:
Lance Stephenson fined $10K, Roy Hibbert fined $5K for flopping violations during Pacers' Game 5 win. pic.twitter.com/9sJXGsSXuq— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 29, 2014
Hibbert's flop came a little over three minutes later when he was underneath the basket and made the most of a bump from Mario Chalmers. You can view video of the flop on NBA.com.
Stephenson was certainly active throughout Wednesday night's game. Still, although he scored 12 points, collected five rebounds and dished out five assists, the lasting image of Game 5 was the Pacers guard blowing in the ear of James as a means of distraction.
LeBron James talked about Stephenson's antics to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:
I'm just here to play basketball, man. All the extracurricular activities, I don't really get into. I'm just trying to win. We need one more game to get The Finals. That's my only concern. We put ourselves in a position to win tonight, and as competitors, as professionals, that's what we are.
Given Indiana's struggles so far this postseason, you can understand why some of its biggest stars are using whatever tactics necessary to try and secure a win.
The Pacers remain alive in the Eastern Conference Finals, with the series heading back to Miami for Game 6 on Friday night.
The performances of Hibbert and Stephenson will play a major role on whether or not Indiana can push the Heat to a decisive Game 7. The duo might want to cool it on the flopping, though—otherwise, they'll end up even lighter in the wallet.