Raptors angered by Lance Stephenson’s last-second layup

The Pacers came back from a 19-point first-half deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night, 108-90, and the final basket was the topic of conversation after the game.

And obviously, it wasn’t a game-winner.

Following a P.J. Tucker missed shot from range, the Pacers got the ball and it was thrown ahead to Lance Stephenson with six seconds left and nobody in front of him. Instead of running out the clock, Stephenson had a clear path to the basket and he scored the layup with 3.3 seconds left.

Raptors players took exception to the move. DeMar DeRozan, plus Tucker and DeMarre Carroll surrounded him a mid-court to give him an earful. To Lance’s credit, he walked away.

Stephenson, DeRozan, and Tucker were all assessed technical fouls.

“I was caught in the moment,” said a remorseful Stephenson at his locker after the game. “I just want to say sorry to them, I didn’t mean no harm. The crowd was chanting me on and I just wanted to do it for the fans. I just want to say sorry and I ain’t mean no hard feelings for that.”

Meanwhile, down the hall in the Raptors’ locker room, Tucker and DeRozan sounded off on Stephenson not backing it out.

“Tasteless. Classless. There’s nowhere in the league for that,” said a disgusted Tucker, who finished with nine points and five rebounds off the bench.

“They got a lot of respectful guys – PG (Paul George), um, those guys. Monta (Ellis), a bunch of respectful guys who know how to win. There’s a way to win, there’s a way to lose in this league and that ain’t the way to win. That ain’t the way you finish games. I think those guys know that. That dude has no class. He has no taste.

“Don’t matter what was said. It’s grown men out there fighting, playing a game. They won the game, game was over, there’s a way to win.”

As for whether Stephenson’s reputation may have played into their anger…

“Nobody care about his reputation,” he added. “I could care less. I don’t even know who he is. He’s just, maybe happy he just got back in the league. I don’t know what he’s so hyped about. But it don’t matter.”

And for the third time, he reiterated: “There’s a way to win and there’s a way to lose, and that ain’t the way you win.”

Perhaps Tucker was still angry about Stephenson sending him to the floor when Tucker set a screen four minutes earlier…

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey: “I thought it was bush-league. We know who he is, we know what he stands for. I thought our guys reacted in the proper way.”

DeRozan, a three-time All-Star, voiced his displeasure after scoring a team-high 27 points.

“It’s just being a professional, understanding you got the lead and the game is over. Run the clock out. That’s just being a professional. I don’t care who you are, how you feel, or what’s going on. It’s just the right way to play basketball.

“It’s a (cardinal)-rule. It’s been before my time, before I was in the NBA, before everybody out there. It’s just … that rule. That respect for the game. It could’ve been Shaq laying the ball up. Same thing, just having respect for the game.

“I really don’t care about his reputation. … He shot a layup when the game was over with. That’s disrespectful to the game.”

Paul George, being a good teammate and getting a playful laugh out of Stephenson’s decision, pinned it on himself.

“I’ll take fault in passing it to him,” he said, sporting a big grin. “I knew he was going to lay it up. It’s kind of a basketball cardinal rule, just hold on to the ball.”

[VIDEO: Lance Stephenson receives standing ovation in return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse]

Outside of this last decision, Stephenson provided the spark the team needed to surge back in the second half. He played all but the final 3.3 seconds of the fourth quarter; McMillan wisely took him out.

He scored 12 points, going 5-of-10 from the field, had three assists and two rebounds in 25 minutes. But more than his numbers, he has given this team exactly what they have needed: Energy.

Several Pacers players after the game commented on their own that Tuesday’s atmosphere, in front of 16,524, was the most alive Bankers Life Fieldhouse had been all season. On-court players, the bench, and fans. Everyone.

McMillan’s Pacers are eighth in the East with four games left.

Pacers head coach Nate McMillan addressed it with Stephenson briefly in the locker room before talking with reporters.

“We talked about that, and he knew that,” McMillan said. “When he was in the locker room and I addressed that, he knew that. Teams normally don’t do that. But, it was his first game back, the crowd was into the game, we come back from 19 [points down] and he’s caught up in the moment. Lance probably didn’t even know what the clock was.”

“I think he was caught up in the game. I thought he was just caught up in the game, the emotions of the game. He was down there by himself. We don’t need points and normally guys hold the ball in that situation. I understand that; we normally do that.

“Lance when he’s out there, he’s in a zone. He’s emotionally playing the game. And I don’t think he really meant to embarrass. I think if he would’ve meant to try to embarrass, he may [have] went in there and tried to tomahawk it or something.”

With the win, the Pacers snapped a four-game skid and improved to 38-40 with four regular-season game remaining.

[Photo: Frank McGrath/PS&E]

4 Responses to Raptors angered by Lance Stephenson’s last-second layup
  1. John
    April 5, 2017 | 9:23 am

    I sincerely hope the Raptors were able to find their safe space after the game.

    • William Cripe
      April 5, 2017 | 8:51 pm

      Boy these CRYING. circles. just got a little. Bigger!

  2. […] what happened: Indiana was leading, 105-90, with 3.3 seconds left, according to Vigilant Sports. After P.J. missed a shot, Lance got the ball back. Instead of politely running out the clock […]

  3. […] Classless. There’s nowhere in the league for that,” P.J. Tucker said, according to VigilantSports.com. “Nobody cares about his reputation. I could care less. I don’t even know who he is. He’s […]

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://vigilantsports.com/raptors-angered-by-lance-stephensons-last-second-layup/trackback/