Stephenson, Turner acknowledge scuffle
A long, physical NBA season can wear on individuals, particularly during trying times. After the Pacers evened their first-round series with Atlanta at one game apiece, a Yahoo! Sports report surfaced that Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner were engaged in a “practice-floor fistfight.”
The Pacers acknowledged Wednesday after practice that an incident occurred during Friday’s practice ahead of Game 1, but they are adamant that no fists were thrown.
“Nothing really happened,” said Turner, who was wearing stylish glasses. “Just got tangled up in practice and that was really it. There was no fist throwing or anything. … “I told the person who wrote that that nothing really happened.
“People have been in fights before so I know what a fight is and what a fight isn’t.”
Now Turner did have a long scratch across most of the left side of his neck, but he said it came “from going to the hole, and that was it.”
23-year-old Lance Stephenson is a competitor, and a known trash talker. He learned that at home in New York at a very young age. His hard-nosed, fancy style of play and attitude sometimes bothers teammates, but he’s matured so much with each new year.
“We’re competitive players and we got in a little scuffle but it was just practice related,” he said. “No blows, just playing hard.
“We good as a unit and we good in the locker room.”
How did coach Frank Vogel see it?
“Just guys getting tangled up in practice,” he said. “Nothing more than that.”
On Stephenson: “He’s a physical competitor,” Vogel said, “an under-your-skin kind of guy. He’s got an edge. He talks a lot. For all those reasons, he helps us succeed.”
David West, the leader of the locker room said what transpired is nothing uncommon.
“It’s something that happens all the time throughout points of the season so it’s not something that we even reacted to,” said West.
Paul George added that “it wasn’t that big of deal” and that this team is like brothers. And siblings do butt heads at times.
“Every team that I’ve been a part of since I’ve been in the NBA, at some point in the year have had confrontations and that grew us,” said Paul George. “We became closer and stronger because of that. Even talking back with Larry [Bird], Larry seems to think that it’s part of the process. So I think we’re great where we’re at.”
The Pacers don’t believe this will be a distraction at all. They had seemingly already moved past it. Or at least tried to until the media brought it up.