He baited into a late technical foul. He's played in just 21 games and started only five while struggling with a calf strain.
Stephenson had 16 points and 11 rebounds to help IN erase a 22-point, first-half deficit and beat Cleveland 97-95.
They outscored the Cavaliers by eight in the second and doubled them up in the third (32-16) to draw to remarkably carry a two-point lead into the final stanza.
"It feels good, but it's a long season", a more subdued Stephenson said in the locker room. "It's tough to guard LeBron so whoever got the guts to go into him and play him hard, I figure this is the game that you can do it".
It was a stunning twist, coming nearly exactly nine months after the Cavs rallied from a 26-point deficit on the same court to beat IN in the playoffs.
Critics will claim the game was meaningless and that Cleveland's effort wanes from night-to-night. That's not a complaint at all as his 19 points only trailed Collison's 22. He drilled down a three over Kyle Korver on one end to give IN an 83-82 lead, then drew a frustrated shove from James on the other end, resulting IN a technical foul and an Oladipo free throw.
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That doesn't sound great, obviously, but it also doesn't sound like it will affect his swing like the rib injury did past year .
With one of the league's worst defense, the Cavaliers are a shell of the team which got blown out in last year's NBA Finals.
The four-time MVP wasn't amused.
"The way Golden State moves the ball, I mean, Cleveland moves the ball well but Golden State is different", said DeRozan. "I should have known".
"I've got a 13-year old son now".
Earlier in the day, James, the best player of this and most other generations held court with the media.
The result: IN, which trailed 26-6 about eight minutes into the game and still trailed 72-60 with 5:23 left IN the third, rallied. After Oladipo's jumper gave IN an early 6-4 lead, the Cavaliers reeled off 22 unanswered points.
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James stepped out of bounds on a drive to the basket with less than two seconds left.
After Friday's win, as Oladipo spoke briefly with stars James and Wade, Stephenson smiled and then joined the Pacers TV broadcast for an interview, multiple times wooing in celebration.
Aron Baynes started at centre for the Celtics but played just 15 minutes, finishing with six points and three rebound. Just a few days after losing by 28 points to the Timberwolves-and causing LeBron to get a little bit testy with reporters-Cleveland lost by 34 to the Raptors in Toronto, even though the Raptors were without the services of both Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. Jeff Green and Jae Crowder were the second- and third-leading scorers with 13 and 11 each, and Kevin Love, Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade were virtually non-existent. The Cavs opened -1 and were bet up to -2.5. Jakob Poeltl pulled down four.The Cavs' veteran bench has been one of the team's strengths this season. "We didn't really push, didn't really attack", Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said. It's always an emotional game when we play Cleveland. Turner has been out with an injured right elbow.
Oh, and before that, Stephenson was playing the air guitar to celebrate a three.
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