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#HEAT NOTEBOOK: Howard, Stephenson Meet-and-Greet Before Game 4 ... Confidence No Issue ... Former Dodgers Pitcher Does Anthem Honors Harmonically


BY GEORGE RICHARDSgrichards@MiamiHerald.com

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

INDIANAPOLIS – Juwan Howard had something to say to Lance Stephenson and made sure he did.

A day after searching out Stephenson before the Heat's practice at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Howard walked over to the Pacers' rookie forward as he was warming up before Sunday's game and gave him a piece of his mind. 

Howard was spotted chest-to-chest with Stephenson and at one point put his finger in Stephenson's face.

Former Heat player and current Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw separated the two and walked Howard back toward the Miami side of the court. 

That was about all the action the two saw on Sunday. Neither played in Miami's 101-93 victory in Game 4 of the best-of-7 series. 

“We're just two men who have a difference of opinion. That's all,'' Howard said after the game. “As far as our differences go, it's over with. It's the past now.''

Stephenson has drawn the ire of the Heat throughout the series for his chirping from the Pacers bench – Stephensonand for putting his hands around his neck in a choke sign when LeBron James missed a free throw during Indiana's win in Game 3.

Stephenson apologized to James and the Heat for the gesture the on Saturday.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Howard told a couple of Pacers players to relay a message to Stephenson for him on Saturday. “Tell him I’m going to [mess] him up,” Howard told Dahntay Jones and Paul George according to the Star. 

Howard has a past with the much younger Stephenson as he took a pair of technicals and was ejected late in a blowout win here in February after confronting Stephenson. The two also met again during garbage time during Game 3.

“Right now we said what we had to,'' Howard said. “We move on. It's time to play the games. I said what I had to say. It's over with.'' 


Starting point guard Mario Chalmers said the Heat have never suffered from a lack of confidence although Miami looked a little rattled early in Sunday's game. 

Indiana jumped out to a 9-0 run before LeBron James picked up Miami's first points at the 7:42 mark. The Heat would get a little more going after that, but through the first 4:18, the Heat turned the ball over (James, Turiaf and Chalmers struggled with the ball) five times. The Heat had 15 turnovers in the game – nine of those coming in the first 24 minutes. 

“Everyone had confidence whether we were up or down,'' said Chalmers, who scored all eight of his points in the first half after scoring a game-high 25 in Thursday's loss. “It's never a confidence factor with us.''

() Miami became the first team to hit the 100 point mark against the Pacers this postseason. Indiana beat Orlando in five games in the opening round.

() The Heat have had the national anthem performed on guitar before playoff games – and even had the Clemonslate great Clarence Clemons do it on his tenor saxophone a few times.

On Sunday, the Pacers matched that by having it performed on a harmonica. 

And it was done perfectly by former Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine. Now 85, Erskine told USA Today he used to fiddle around with the mouth organ during his playing days but never Erskineperformed an anthem in public until he did so before a Dodgers fantasy camp. 

() IndyCar driver and Heat fan Ryan Hunter-Reay missed Sunday's game as he was at the speedway for 'bump day.'

Hunter-Reay didn't need to qualify on this Sunday before the big race as he did last year; the Fort Lauderdale resident turned the third-best average time on Saturday and will start the 96th Indianapolis 500 from the front row.

Hunter-Reay said after Saturday's run that he would Hunterreaybe following the Heat game – from a few miles away. Hunter-Reay attended Thursday's game and watched it from a sponsor's luxury suite.

() Shane Battier on the challenge of playing against David West: “I'm just trying to make him work. I'm giving up about 40 pounds and he's a lot stronger than me. There's not much I can do about that except make him work for everything he gets.''

() As a number of his teammates got dressed for the Hungergamesflight back to Miami, James relaxed in front of his locker while reading 'The Hunger Games.'