Los Angeles (AFP) - Lance Stephenson's return to Indiana sparked the Pacers to a much needed win - and irked the National Basketball Association (NBA) play-off-bound Toronto Raptors.
"Tasteless, classless," Toronto's P.J. Tucker said of Stephenson's layup with 3.3sec remaining in a game the Pacers had in the bag.
The 108-90 comeback triumph saw the Pacers snap a four-game losing streak and move back into a tie for the number seven play-off berth in the Eastern Conference.
Stephenson, playing his first home game as a Pacer since 2014 after rejoining the club on Sunday, scored all 12 of his points in the fourth quarter, when the Pacers out-scored the Raptors 31-15.
But the game ended with a brief shoving match after Stephenson put up his uncontested layup instead of dribbling out the clock.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMto0KgF_Xo
Stephenson and Toronto's Tucker and DeMar DeRozan all received technical fouls.
"The game was over," DeRozan said. "That's not the way you win. The game was over, so run the clock out."
Even Pacers coach Nate McMillan acknowledged Stephenson violated usual NBA etiquette.
"Normally, guys hold the ball in that situation," McMillan said. "I don't think he meant to embarrass anyone."
And indeed Stephenson, who once tried to rattle LeBron James by blowing in the superstar's ear during a play-off game, was contrite after padding his team's final winning margin.
"Everybody was chanting my name and saying, 'Go, Go,' Stephenson said.
"I just want to say sorry to the Raptors. I didn't mean any harm. I was very excited, first game back home and I wanted to do it for the fans. I know I made a mistake, and I'm sorry for that. I was caught in the moment."