Pacers get jolt from Lance Stephenson in Game 1

There was little Lance Stephenson couldn’t do as a high school player. Bigger and better than his peers, Stephenson flashed skills and a physicality that was beyond the competition while winning four straight PSAL city titles at Abraham Lincoln in Coney Island.

Now in the NBA, he’s no longer the dominant force he was in high school. He’s a glue guy, a fourth or fifth option with the Indiana Pacers, responsible for doing the little things like playing defense, things he wasn’t always known for as a young star. But Stephenson is still highly effective, just in different ways as he showed on Sunday against the Knicks.

Playing with his trademark scowl and aggressiveness, Stephenson, a 6-5 guard, made five of nine shots for 11 points while grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds and making a game-high three steals.

Loose and chatty before the game, Stephenson spoke easily about his homecoming where he would play before family and friends, “all of them Knicks fans,” he said. And he played like it, palming the ball a la Michael Jordan in the faces of the Knicks after grabbing a rebound.

He also frustrated J.R. Smith into 4-of-15 shooting after the two nearly came to blows in a game in February.

– Reported by Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News