The Trail Blazers were swept by the Warriors in the first round of the NBA playoffs, but the team has a lot of promise for the future.
There aren’t many teams that can match Golden State’s roster, but Portland could be with the addition of a few key players. The Blazers’ backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum is one of the best in the league and Jusuf Nurkic was a huge addition at the trade deadline, averaging a double-double during his time in Portland.
“He’s got to learn to control himself. He’s got to learn to just be Cheap Rugby Jerseys in the moment. Lance, in our locker room, is looked upon as a leader, so his body language has to improve. Just for the team. We all know Lance is an emotional guy, and a lot of it is just his heart, and his competitiveness, and that emotion comes out on him. But he’s just gotta channel that and put it towards making effort plays on the court and doing whatever he needs for us to succeed.”
Before the playoffs started, Stephenson said, “the fun time is over,” referencing some of the antics he’s pulled in the past, such as blowing in LeBron James’ ear. While he hasn’t done anything like that (so far), his emotional outbursts caught the attention of his coach during the game, where it appeared he told the guard to calm down.
Some may view this as George criticizing a teammate for the second game in a row, but even Stephenson would probably acknowledge he needs to handle himself better. The Pacers have had chances to steal both of the first two games of the series, and will need everyone to play near-perfect basketball if they have any hopes of coming back down 2-0.