SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports NBA Insider Jeff Zillgitt breaks down crucial Game 4 wins for the Cavaliers, Wizards and Bucks and the Spurs avoiding elimination.
USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers wing Lance Stephenson was always going to find himself at the heart of however Sunday’s Game 4 was decided.
He baited LeBron James into a fourth-quarter technical foul, later wrested the ball from James and earned a jump ball, and then found himself rolling on the court with Cleveland Cavaliers forward Jeff Green with his team trailing by three points with under ten seconds remaining.
The tie-up with Green, which resulted in a personal foul on Stephenson and free throws for Green, looked part headlock and part jump ball.
Joe Borgia, NBA senior VP of replay and referee operations, joined Inside the NBA after the game to explain what happened.
“On the court, you can see (referee) Kenny Mauer come in with his fist up,” Borgia said. “He has a foul on Stephenson for the headlock. They went to the ground and obviously they rolled over and a little pushing. They came to replay to see if after the foul that was called on the court there was any hostile acts that maybe needed, you know, technical foul needed to be called.”
However, according to Borgia, official Pat Fraher called a jump ball.
“But a foul does take precedence. And the foul obviously happened prior to Lance getting his hands on the ball, so that’s why they stayed with the personal foul.”