Back in December, Larry Bird sat down for a quick Q and A with Pacers.com's Mark Monteith. When asked exactly how confident he was that the team would be able to resign Lance Stephenson, the Pacers President of Basketball Operations had the following to say:
Obviously I think this is the best situation for Lance. I worry about if Lance leaves here. This environment is absolutely perfect for him. Players know his little games. Lance is always energetic. He's always at another level. He likes to mess around in practice. Guys understand that here. It's not a bad thing, he's just energetic. He wants to go 100 miles an hour every time. Lance falls on the court and acts like he's been shot. Guys will walk by and tell him to get up. So this is the best environment for Lance.
It is with this quote that Bird perfectly summarizes the two-sides of the player that is now fondly known as Born Ready. Even in the playoffs, Lance is still prone to some of his, as they are now commonly referred to as, "Bad Lance" moments (or, as they should be perceived, "Affordable Lance" moments). He might force things on the break. Sometimes he looks like he is auditioning for the And-1 circuit. There is always the possibility that he will fall victim to his own emotional hijinks, but he also has the ability to completely alter the course of a game with his dynamic energy, athleticism, and passion.
During the third quarter of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, it could be argued that both "Good" and "Affordable" Lance certainly had more than a few memorable moments. For the most part, the positives undoubtedly outweighed the negatives as the player that Bird describes as "always energetic" blew past his adversaries for a thunderous dunk, used his brute strength to finish at the rim, and splashed in a three-point shot well beyond the arc all in a matter of minutes.
However, intermixed amongst his numerous plays that likely would have even dazzled spectators at Rucker, Stephenson also managed to have one of his, as Larry Legend describes, "falls on the court and acts like he's been shot" episodes:
Immediately following Lance's Oscar-worthy performance, ESPN sideline commentator Jeff Van Gundy quipped that Stephenson's new nickname should be "Born Actor." Unfortunately for the Pacers' guard, his stellar acting skills did not go unnoticed by the league office or Twitter:
Good night Lance. pic.twitter.com/KTg0WCZJh4— NBA Meme Team (@NBAMemeTeam) May 21, 2014
In addition to being the subject of numerous NBA memes, the league announced that Lance has been fined $5,000 for violating the league's anti-flopping policy. Notably, there has been no punishment handed down for any of LeBron's, well let's say, flourishes during Game 2.
While being branded with a scarlet letter "F" for flopping certainly should not be considered as one of Born Ready's crowning achievements, one "Affordable Lance" moment should not overshadow his otherwise stellar performance in which he finished with 25 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. As Frank Vogel noted at the podium, "He had a spectacular game. There's no other way to put it. Gives us a big edge. He delivers and made a lot of big shots and big plays."