Lance Stephenson Asked To Guard LeBron
No single person can guard LeBron James even competently over the course of an entire game. It takes multiple skilled defenders, along with a solid team defensive strategy just to slow the game’s best player into turning in a below average performance.
The Pacers were successful against James in Game 4, limiting the league’s MVP to just 24 points on 8-of-18 shooting while playing more than 43 minutes.
Part of that had to do with Lance Stephenson, who apparently asked his head coach for at least a portion of the defensive assignment.
From Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida:
“He asked to guard him. He asked to guard him,” said Vogel, seemingly really wanting to really emphasize that. “He’s a competitor. We know Paul (George) is getting worn out a little bit guarding LeBron the whole game that he’s in there. Lance said, ‘Let me share some of the load.'”
James was defended primarily by Paul George, just as he had been for most of the series. Sam Young spent some time on James as well, and while Stephenson was isolated against LeBron for only three of those 18 field goal attempts, James missed two, and all were strongly contested.