His morning began with words of contrition; a sort of awkward, forced repentance 36 hours after Lance Stephenson had done precisely the opposite and professed no regret for his costly comments of LeBron James.
His night ended with a crowd of reporters surrounding his locker, his voice quickened, his confidence once again strengthened. Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse offered among the more bizarre Stephenson sideshows – and certainly, that's saying something when you're discussing Lance Stephenson.
Game 5 of these Eastern Conference finals was a chapter filled with plenty of good and plenty of odd, an appropriate snippet into the soap opera that is at once enthralling and maddening and confounding.
And, of course, wildly unpredictable.
There was the good: Stephenson's relentlessly physical disposition incited an Oscar-worthy flop from Miami's Dwyane Wade in the third quarter of Indiana's 93-90 Game 5 victory. His 12 points, five rebounds and five assists paired nicely with a defensive effort that stifled both LeBron James and Wade at times, especially amid Indiana's decisive fourth-quarter stand.
At times, it seemed, Stephenson was doing just enough to unseat Miami's tandem from their comfort zone.
Then, of course, the odd. The very odd.
Shortly after attempting to sneak into Miami's huddle, television cameras caught Stephenson blowing into LeBron James' ear during a late-game stoppage in play. James' face bore his emotions plain as day, as if to say: "Is this dude kidding?"
"Buffoonery," Heat guard Ray Allen called it after the game.
"It's Lance being Lance," Paul George said. "I hope his breath wasn't too bad for LeBron."