INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson was contrite and apologetic in talking about flashing a choke sign at LeBron James after a missed free throw. James' response, meanwhile, was flatly dismissive.
Cameras picked up Stephenson grasping his neck on the Pacers bench when James missed the shot after a technical foul late in the third quarter of the Pacers' 94-75 Game 3 win Thursday night. James also missed two clutch free throws as well in the Heat's Game 2 loss earlier this week.
"I was wrong and disrespectful to my teammates, the Miami Heat and their organization," Stephenson told NBA.com on Saturday. "I'm sorry that I did that. It was very disrespectful.
"(I) try to talk to other players, but in a good way. Get them off their game a little bit but not being disrespectful. I just got out of hand one time, and I'll never do it again."
The replay was shown repeatedly over the last several days but James said he's been avoiding television and had not seen it. But it didn't stop him from sending a message.
"Lance Stephenson? You want a quote about Lance Stephenson?" James said after the Heat's practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. "I'm not even going to give him the time. Knock it off."
James' comments called to mind a playoff tiff he had with then Washington Wizards' guard DeShawn Stevenson in 2007 during a playoff series when he compared himself to Jay-Z and Stevenson to one-hit wonder Soulja Boy.
Stephenson, a second-year player, is not used much by the Pacers. He's only played one minute in the series with the Heat. He played in 42 games, averaging 2.5 points, during the regular season.