Indiana's 108-90 home victory over Toronto on Tuesday night was marred by a heated confrontation between the Pacers' Lance Stephenson and the Raptors' DeMar DeRozan with 3.3 seconds remaining in the contest.
The shoving match broke out when tempers flared between Stephenson and DeRozan after the Raptors guard took issue with Stephenson's layup at the end of the Pacers' runaway win over their Eastern Conference rivals.
Stephenson was faced down by DeRozan and several other Raptors players after he put up the layup just before time expired -- instead of holding on to the ball and walking off the floor -- which seemed to break one of basketball's cardinal rules. The skirmish then spilled down the sideline and into the Pacers' bench, where Toronto's PJ Tucker was still jawing with Pacers players as coaches tried to separate the players.
DeRozan told reporters after the tilt that the play was "disrespectful to the game." Tucker called the play "classless'' and "tasteless.''
"I didn't mean no harm,'' he said. "The crowd was chanting me on, and I just wanted to do it for the fans.''
Pacers star forward Paul George weighed in on the skirmish during his on-court interview and conceded that Stephenson might have overdone things a bit.
"Lance knows better," he said. "That's, like, a cardinal rule to not lay the ball up when you're up. But he did it. It's the reason why Lance is Lance."
Stephenson, Tucker and DeRozan all received technical fouls.
Stephenson, playing in his first home game since he re-signed with Indiana last week, finished with 12 points to help the Pacers rally from a 19-point, first-half deficit.
"I almost teared up,'' Stephenson said of the applause he heard as he went to the scorer's table late in the first quarter. "But my main focus was to try and win the game. I'm just happy we won the game."