I know not to many of you get caught up in the NBA regular season, but the truth is, it really has been a season for the ages.
Russell Westbrook, going off against last night with his 41st triple double of the season to tie Oscar Robertson’s all-time mark. Westbrook is about to average a triple double for the season, has singlehandedly kept the Thunder in the playoff chase, and may rip the MVP in the process.
James Harden, having nearly as good a statistical season as Westbrook, and taking what was a .500 Houston Rockets team last season and making them a force in the west this year.
And, of course, the Golden State Warriors, playing their best basketball when it matters most, looking at a 65 win season while looking to rip back what was previously theirs.
All in all, a regular season for the ages.
But as good as all that is, it all pales in comparison to what I saw last night from Lance Stephenson and the Pacers. Because Lance gonna Lance. We all know that. Just as we all all knew it would happened in his first home game back with the Pacers. I mean, he said as much recently when he was asked what he thought it would be like when he hit the floor for the first time before the home town fans:
Jordan and Stephenson?? It sounds whack. But it’s not.
In fact, Stephenson is right. He and Jordan are practically the same guy. In fact, Stephenson is Jordan, Magic, Bird and Bill Russell all rolled into one. If you don’t think so, then you clearly didn’t see or hear the reaction when he checked into last night’s game. Believe me, Jordan, Bird, Magic and Russell never got a reaction like that from their fans. Ever. Because none of those guys are like this guy. No one is. And even Lance himself admitted he “almost teared up” in the moment. Yeah. Almost. But instead, he balled out. 12 points, 3 assist and one late finish around the basket.
Uh oh!! Apparently baseball is not the only sport with its unwritten rules. Basketball has them too. And one of those rules near the very top of the list is, you don’t lay it in and the end of a blowout. You dribble out the clock and walk it off the court.
Stephenson, instead empty a dump truck full salt into that Raptor wound; and Toronto obviously thought that was a reason to go.
Because just about every Raptor on the floor looked like they wanted to fight Sir Lancelot. Starting with P.J. Tucker who was right in Lance’s grill and all over him after the game saying, “tasteless, classless. There’s nowhere in the league for that. That ain’t the way you finish games. I think those guys know that. That dude, he has no class, has no taste.”
If by tasteless and classless, you mean awesome and incredible, then I agree with you P.J., Stephenson is tasteless and classless. Because that tasted great.
The Pacers are battling for their playoff lives and this is the sort of edge and nasty they’ve been missing all season. This is exactly what that team needed. Really, it’s exactly what we all needed. You know the saying, ‘no one is bigger than the game.’ Wrong. Don’t tell me no one transcends the game. Because this guy does.
You can argue that he really doesn’t make the team any better. I’ll argue that he absolutely does.
In fact, I’d argue that Lance Stephenson makes the entire world better. The entire universe. They don’t call this cat ‘born ready’ for nothing.
Lance Stephenson. Legend.