Apr 27, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson (1) knocks the ball away from Atlanta Hawks point guard Devin Harris (34) in the first half during game three in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs 2013: Lance Stephenson is X Factor

When it came time to think about who could make a difference for the Indiana Pacers, you think of Paul George, David West, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, in that order.  But there’s one guy who’s been such a solid starter at times that has made a bit of difference in this series.  Lance Stephenson is the x factor for this series as there’s Good Lance and there’s Bad Lance.  I like when Lance Stephenson is pushing the ball into the front court, and just playing like he’s out there on the playground.  His motor can seem to run too much, and that’s when we get Bad Lance.  But if you look at how far along he’s come this season, he deserves a ton of credit.

With the small amount of playoff times, it’s amazing to think how good Lance has looked at times during this playoff season.  He’s a guy that won’t show up in the stat line, even though he almost had a triple double in game four with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists.  Last night, he grabs a career high of 12 rebounds.  He’s also played two games over 40 minutes.  He’s showing up there and doing whatever he can to give the Pacers that shot of energy, and that’s what I like best about his game.  When he’s got that crazy amount of energy under control, he can get the ball up to someone in a hurry and get them an easy basket.

At the same time, he can finish the play himself if need be.  He’s got to work on the shot a bit more, and even misses those lay ups right at the basket at times.  But for all the good things that Stephenson has been doing, I am picking him as a difference for what the Pacers can do.  He’s going to be important at times if the other guys aren’t finding their shot. He’s got a great way of finding those passes that most guys don’t see.  Even at times, seeing a play the other guy doesn’t see as he’ll make that great pass.  I think once he gets all avenues of his game working, he’ll become an even important part of the Pacers.  He’ll be around for what he can do for the Pacers for the next few seasons, and that’s going to be fun to watch.

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