Heat coach Erik Spoelstra used his third different starting lineup in four games in the Eastern Conference finals, amid the absence of key reserve center Chris Andersen.
With Andersen missing Game 4 with a left thigh bruise, Spoelstra moved forward Rashard Lewis into the starting lineup in place of Udonis Haslem.
Going into Monday’s game, the Heat had been outscored by 37 points in 34 minutes when Chris Bosh and Haslem were on the court together in this series. So Spoelstra opted for something different, allowing Haslem to replace Andersen as his first power rotation player off the bench, in a report by the Miami Herald.
James said he grinned when he heard that Lance Stephenson said James showed “a sign of weakness” by responding to Stephenson’s trash-talking during Game 3.
James had no additional comment, but conceded that in general, these types of comments can “help at times when you’re doubted” and “you can use it as motivation.”
But “I’ve smiled and laughed at it a lot as well,” he said. “It depends what kind of mood I’m in. … I don’t need much motivation.”
Asked before the game whether Stephenson’s comments would create a monster out of James, Pacers forward David West said: “More than what he is? I don’t know.”
Pacers coach Frank Vogel predicted Stephenson’s comments would have no effect in Game 4.
“I don’t think LeBron, Dwyane Wade are going to play any harder than they’re already playing,” Vogel said.
Spoelstra said he would not discourage his players from trash-talking and “I don’t think it has any impact on the outcome.”