The Indiana Pacers picked up an important win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday to move to 1-1 in their NBA playoffs series. Hours later, Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski dampened the mood any Pacers fans may have allowed to brighten with this report:
On the eve of this Eastern Conference series, the wobbling No. 1 seed punctuated its final playoff preparations in a most self-destructive way: Two Indiana Pacers dragged a cursing, cut Evan Turner out of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court, untangling him from a practice-floor fistfight with teammate Lance Stephenson.
Woj reports that the two guards brawled until separated by Luis Scola and David West. He also reports that Turner isn't the first Pacer to grow tired of whatever it is Stephenson does to irritate teammates, calling the guard "relentlessly irritable."
Both Stephenson and Turner are free agents at the end of the season.
Woj also reports that two things are on the line in this postseason for the Pacers, depending on how far they go. Head coach Frank Vogel's job and Roy Hibbert's future with the club are both up in the air. The center had 6 points and 4 rebounds in 24 minutes on Tuesday.
Update: The story was confirmed, in a sense, by Stephenson, who acknowledged the fight but said no punches were thrown. Turner tried to sidestep it, but it appears he was caught telling a white lie:
Turner: "Lance and I are pretty big guys. I'd think u see evidence of a punch thrown." However ET has big scratch marks on left side of neck— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) April 23, 2014