Posted April 23, 2014

Report: Pacers’ Lance Stephenson, Evan Turner engage in ‘fistfight’ at practice

2014 NBA playoffs, Atlanta Hawks, Ben Golliver, Evan Turner, Indiana Pacer, Lance Stephenson
Indiana Pacers' Lance Stephenson, Evan Turner reportedly engaged in a fight at practice.

Lance Stephenson (left) and Evan Turner (right) reportedly engaged in a fight at practice. (McClatchy-Tribune/Getty Images)

Pacers guards Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner reportedly engaged in a fight at practice prior to the start of the 2014 playoffs.

Yahoo! Sports reports that Stephenson and Turner had to be separated on Friday, one day before Indiana’s Game 1 loss to Atlanta.

Two Indiana Pacers dragged a cursing, cut Evan Turner out of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court, untangling him from a practice-floor fistfight with teammate Lance Stephenson.

Turner hadn’t been the first Pacer to lose his temper with Stephenson these tumultuous several weeks, and Stephenson’s relentlessly irritable nature suggests Turner won’t be the last.

Turner insisted “nothing happened” with Stephenson in practice on Friday, but he’s in a tough spot to cop to the truth.

Turner landed in Indiana as part of a trade-deadline move that sent Danny Granger to Philadelphia.

Prior to Turner’s debut on Feb. 25, the Pacers were 42-13. With Turner in the lineup, Indiana has gone just 13-14.

The idea in adding Turner was to install another playmaker with some scoring pop to liven up the Pacers’ weak bench, which ranked No. 27 in the league, averaging just 26.5 points per game. The 6-foot-7 Turner needs the ball to be successful, though, and the 6-foot-5 Stephenson had done well as a playmaker earlier in the season.

Hanging over the addition? Both Stephenson, 25, and Turner, 25, are on track to become free agents this summer, with the former expected to be one of the more coveted players on the market. There has been much speculation about whether the Pacers, who have already committed big dollars to All-Stars Paul George and Roy Hibbert, would be able to pay to retain Stephenson. The two players were theoretically pitted against each other when it came to earning potential, regardless of whether their paydays would come from the Pacers or an outside suitor.

The move from Philadelphia, the league’s second-worst team, to Indiana, the East’s No. 1 seed, has brought a dramatic reduction in Turner’s playing time and his offensive opportunities.

  • Turner in Philadelphia: 34.9 MPG, 17.4 PPG, 6 RPG, 3.7 APG, 15.4 FGA per game, 42.8% shooting
  • Turner in Indiana: 21.1 MPG, 7.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.4 APG, 7 FGA per game, 41.1% shooting

The impact of Turner’s arrival hasn’t dramatically altered Stephenson’s per-game numbers, but his production has slipped across the board since the move was made.

  • Stephenson, pre-Turner: 35.3 MPG, 14.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 5.2 APG, 11.4 FGA per game, 49.8% shooting
  • Stephenson, post-Turner: 34.9 MPG, 13.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.4 APG, 10.7 FGA per game, 47.6% shooting

Perhaps the biggest change? Stephenson’s passing numbers. His assist-to-turnover ratio has dropped from 1.91 prior to Turner’s arrival to 1.27 after Turner’s arrival, and his assist ratio has fallen from 25.3 pre-Turner to 19.1 post-Turner.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that Hibbert expressed his displeasure with the lack of ball movement following a March 28 loss to the Wizards.

“Some selfish dudes in here,” Roy Hibbert told NBA.com. “Some selfish dudes. I’m tired of talking about it. We’ve been talking about it for a month.”

In that game, Indiana registered 13 assists as a team: George went 6-for-22 and had no assists, Stephenson went 3-for-13 and had four assists, and Turner went 0-for-4 with one assist.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel later told the media that he would have preferred that Hibbert keep his comments in-house.

After losing 101-93 in Game 1 to the Hawks — in embarrassing fashion, no less — the Pacers rebounded to score a sound win in Game 2, 101-85.

The impact of the reported fight doesn’t directly translate into the boxscores from Indiana’s two games against Atlanta, as both Turner and Stephenson put up better lines in the Game 1 loss rather than the Game 2 defeat.

Turner posted nine points (on 4-for-6 shooting), seven rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes in Game 1. He tallied three points (on 1-for-1 shooting), two rebounds, and two assists in 11 minutes in Game 2.

Stephenson, meanwhile, scored 19 points (on 8-for-18 shooting) and added seven rebounds and one assist in 35 minutes in Game 1. He finished with seven points (on 3-for-6 shooting), five assists and three rebounds in 25 minutes in Game 2.

Indiana (No. 1) and Atlanta (No. 8) are deadlocked at one game apiece in their series. Game 3 is set for Philips Arena on Thursday.

More SI.com NBA playoff coverage

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AWARDS: Durant SI.com’s unanimous MVP winner
DOLLINGERRanking playoff teams 1-16 in Power Rankings

23 comments
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Bucky182
Bucky182

Looks like Vaughn is carrying his left a little low. This could hurt him in the later rounds.

Phllip
Phllip

Personalities will always clash, and it's only natural that Lance feels threatened by a younger Turner who can possibly take his job. Just another article coming out a little too late, about a team that is already facing identity /personality issues. The Pacers finally played like the team they were expected to be (though it was only in the 3rd quarter) and they won the game. The team finally, or Hopefully, has some confidence and then this article comes out. Nice job folks

Genghis_Sean
Genghis_Sean

Lance had a great move on the baseline last night that led to a reverse layup and a timeout by the Hawks to stop the bleeding.  I recall Turner running and crashing into Stephenson afterwards in celebration with a big smile on his face, so whatever the beef was in practice, it clearly doesn't carry into the game.  Stephenson has been an a-hold in the past.  No Pacer could stand him when he first joined the team.  There's still a lot of Bad Lance leftover, but his rollercoaster still trends upwards.  His on and off court incidents are getting fewer and he's getting more and more effective on the court. The Pacers should move heaven and earth to lock him up and keep him a Pacer if it's at all possible.

MikeDefreitas
MikeDefreitas

Maybe, if the borderline gods are happy, Lance Stephenson will be reading this article, and will get extra annoyed at how Evan is screwing with his personal performance. Such, I believe, is how the personality of Lance Stephenson likely functions. If you are known for being notoriously "irritable", I fail to understand how that would make you coveted. 


Personally, I want a teammate who doesn't pose a threat to blaming me, berating me, and assaulting me, when he gets irritated.

RudyRayMoore
RudyRayMoore

Turner's a punk! never should have traded for him.

steve.guttenberg81
steve.guttenberg81

Yet, they'll still be playing in the Conference Finals, thanks to the weak East

feynman99
feynman99

It is not a coincidence that the losing started when Bird swapped Granger for the loser Turner.  He brought the stink to the building.

JohnnyNacho
JohnnyNacho

Pacers are playing w/ house money now....it will be no surprise if and when they finally check out of these playoffs.

MikeMapel
MikeMapel

Man, Larry Bird really doesn't want to win or doesn't know what he is doing.  Adding Turner upset the chemistry of the team and was the wrong move wrt Stephenson having to play threatened.  What a massive strategic mistake by Bird.

effeweall
effeweall

the pic you got up.  does the new guy buy into the concept of team.  The other two guys have on ugly yellow sneakers.  The new guy has black on.  Join the team new guy.  How do you not get rid of the new guy when you tank your season adding him.


More protection for LeBron to make the finals again?

damon reese
damon reese

Was not a good trade! Scout and whoever else involved in making that trade should be fired. Watching this series just upsets me. Same mistakes over and over, I'd fire coaching staff too. To much space on defense and a lot of standing around watching other players. Just terrible.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@PatrickBatemanVP  Turner hadn’t been the first Pacer to lose his temper with Stephenson these tumultuous several weeks, and Stephenson’s relentlessly irritable nature suggests Turner won’t be the last



Read the article, dummy.

Phllip
Phllip

@steve.guttenberg81  no they won't. regardless of who makes it out of this series, they'll get stopped against the Bulls or Wizards who actually play consistent defense.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@feynman99  Turner hadn’t been the first Pacer to lose his temper with Stephenson these tumultuous several weeks, and Stephenson’s relentlessly irritable nature suggests Turner won’t be the last



Again, read the article, dumb-dumb...

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@effeweall  Really?  LOOK at lots of players on different teams and you'll notice this happens a lot.


LeBron and D Wade do not always have the same color shoes on at all...

feynman99
feynman99

@Joebuckster @feynman99  I read it.  My comment does not reference the fight, and is a loose side-note to the article.  Stephenson is indeed a hot-head.  And Turner will always be an NBA loser.  I'd rather have the hot-head on my team. Don't call me names.

MikeDefreitas
MikeDefreitas

@feynman99 @Joebuckster  Why would Turner "always be a loser"? Look at whose calling whom names. 


Frankly, I'd rather have a player who evinces a stable personality than someone who projects his own frustrations on other people, as Lance Stephenson undoubtedly does.