PACERS NIX KNICKS

New York Knicks forwards Carmelo Anthony (7) and Iman Shumpert (21) react as time runs out on Game 1 of their NBA basketball playoff series in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden in New York, Sunday, May 5, 2013. The Pacers won 102-95.
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Remember the name, Lance Stephenson, who was ‘tearing ‘em up’ scoring and passing the ball to his teammates at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn?

After graduating from Lincoln, he did not last long at the University of Cincinnati and after his freshman year felt that he was ready for the National Basketball Association. A complete player at the time, the Brooklyn resident was drafted in the second round by the Indiana Pacers. He recently completed his third year with Indiana (minus the current playoffs), and is currently trying to help his teammates defeat the Knicks in the Eastern Conference second round of the National Basketball Association playoffs.

Stephenson was glad to return to his home State and compete before capacity crowds, which include his family, friends, ex-teammates, and ex-opponents while growing up and throughout his high school and college days.

He really impressed everybody, including the front office of the Pacers, during the exciting season.

“He played well all year long with us,” said Indiana Pacer President Donnie Walsh. “He started really rebounding the ball in the playoffs. He played a great game (against the Knicks in the first game of the second round).”

The 6’5” guard stepped up his game in this, his third season of professional basketball.

“This season has been great to me,” he said. “I couldn’t do without my teammates. They (and the coaches) believed in me. I took it game by game and didn’t put any pressure on myself to showcase my talent.”

While at Lincoln he did just that, blossomed out, and earned many honors, including all-City laurels, in having a tremendous high school career when all eyes were centered on him. He played on title winning teams.

Every time he saw action in New York, he felt great, especially playing in front of his family and friends.

“It’s always as pleasure to do that,” he added. “I love playing at the Garden and on this court….When I’m home (in New York, whether it be in Brooklyn or Manhattan) in front of my family and friends I feel real good. My teammates and coaches believe in me. That makes me feel more comfortable on the floor.”

He said that maybe he played at Madison Square Garden 10 times, which includes both in high school and in college.

While competing in the NBA, he didn’t score a lot. He put the ball in the basket on many occasions while at Lincoln, averaging in double figures. Then when he competed in college for one year, he made some big plays.

“Now I play good defense and smart basketball,” he said. “And I’m very aggressive.”

Stephenson is playing against some tremendous talent in the NBA especially in 6’8” forward and the league’s high score in Carmelo Anthony, who has been on fire at times for the Knicks, and maybe, the best player outside of the Miami duo in basketball.

“Melo is a great player and is unstoppable,” continued Stephenson. “He’ll score his 30 points.”

If the playoffs go the complete seven games against the Knicks, there will be two more home games between the Knicks and the Pacers. And the local fans will be able to cheer on Stephenson when he steps onto the court.

Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) shoots as New York Knicks guard Jason Kidd (5) defends in the first quarter of Game 1 of their second-round NBA basketball series at Madison Square Garden in New York, Sunday, May 5, 2013.
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

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