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Indiana Pacers: Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner didn’t fight, according to David West, who uses different definitions of “fight”

Apr 19, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) pulls forward David West (21) away after getting into an argument with Atlanta Hawks center Pero Antic (6) as double technicals are called in game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Atlanta defeats Indiana 101-93. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you’ve probably heard about the Pacers fight. Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner got into a bit of a brouhaha before Game 1 of their first round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. Kind of a kerfuffle, if you will. Much ado about fighting, perhaps. A heaping helping of hubbub. …sorry. The fight was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

 

On the eve of this Eastern Conference series, the wobbling No. 1 seed punctuated its final playoff preparations in a most self-destructive way: 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. These scrapes aren’t uncommon in the NBA, but this confrontation had been weeks in the making and that reflected in the ferocity of the encounter, sources told Yahoo Sports.

 

“This stuff happens, but the timing wasn’t ideal,” one witness told Yahoo Sports.

 

via Pacers fight each other on eve of playoffs, finally take swing at Hawks in Game 2 – Yahoo Sports.

Right. It happens, and we all know it. The classic example of fisticuffs between teammates is Steve Kerr “landing a punch” on Michael Jordan; more recently, there was the fun story of the fight that broke out between Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo over a game of cards. As the unnamed eyewitness said, the timing probably could have been better — the fight between Kerr and Jordan, for instance, occurred in training camp — but if Stephenson and Turner were at the point that they felt they needed to come to blows, so be it. I prefer a diplomatic approach, but it’s probably better for the two to let their emotions out than to keep them bottled up.

On the other hand, maybe there wasn’t even a fight in the first place. That’s David West’s perspective, according to multiple reports today.

 

No, in fact, it’s not surprising at all. An exhaustive list of events that West considers fights:

  • The Battles of Kawanakajima, which raged off and on for over a decade between two evenly matched forces whose strengths and weaknesses were in perfect alignment, led by generals familiar with each other, their own troops, and those of their opponent. Those two generals, Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen, would meet in a one-on-one fight that’s become the stuff of legend.
  • The eternal struggle between matter and antimatter. Spoiler: David West wins, which is why the universe exists in the first place.
  • John L. Sullivan vs. Jake Kilrain, a boxing match that lasted for 75 rounds. Yeah. Seventy-five  rounds of guys just beating the hell out of each other, almost certainly drunk to withstand the pain, because the only other explanation is that they were demigods who’d decided that mountain-climbing Olympus was for pansies and just wanted to see how many punches it took to send one of them back to mortality.

That’s it. Nothing else comes close to qualifying as a fight to West. What Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner did was probably parliamentary procedure to a man who could fight the very concept of fighting. And I mean, sure, West is in a position where denying the fight is in his best interests, so maybe he’s being disingenuous. Maybe Stephenson and Turner (I would watch this sitcom, by the way) really did come to blows. But are you going to tell West he’s wrong?

I didn’t think so.

Andrew Lynch

When God Shammgod created the basketball universe, Andrew Lynch was there. His belief in the superiority of advanced statistics and the eventual triumph of expected value-based analytics stems from the fact that he’s roughly as old as the concept of counting. With that said, he still loves the beauty of basketball played at the highest level — it reminds him of the splendor of the first Olympics — and the stories that spring forth from the games, since he once beat Homer in a game of rock-paper-scissors over a cup of hemlock. Dude’s old.

  • John Reeve

    Good article. Especially the last paragraph.