DALLAS (ABC 4 Sports) - DeShawn Stevenson has always been a bit brash. Back in 2003 when he was with the Utah Jazz, Stevenson was suspended for two playoff games for arguing at practice with head coach Jerry Sloan. So, when he said LeBron James "checked out" of Game 4 of the NBA Finals, it really shouldn't have come as a surprise.
"I just felt [James] wasn't in attack mode," Stevenson said. "When he is in attack mode, he can put a lot of pressure on us. I don't know what has happening, but I just felt that playing against him all through the years, that wasn't him. He was deferring."
Stevenson's comments didn't seem to bother James, who scored a playoff career low eight points in Game 4.
"DeShawn has been talking for a long time since our Washington-Cleveland days," James said. "I don't let that get to me. Talk is cheap. You just have to go out and play the game of basketball."
"That stuff is over," said Stevenson. "We're both trying to win a championship, and that thing is over with."
Stevenson has grown up a lot since he was drafted out of high school by the Jazz in 2000. Now in his 11th NBA season, Stevenson says he's completely OK with being taken out of the starting lineup by Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. In his first game as a reserve in the playoffs, Stevenson scored 11 points and was a key defensive stopper in the 4th quarter.
"I think that's just being a veteran," said Stevenson, who played four seasons with the Jazz. "I think guys early in their career get hung up on starting. But with our team, we have great guys who believe in each other."
So much so, the Mavericks have engineered two 4th quarter comebacks and have evened the NBA Finals up at two games a piece.
"I just think a lot of guys on this team have been through a lot of situations, winning and losing," Stevenson said. "We're all going to stick together and play through this. We have the will and the great closers on our team to try and do it."