CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The officials determined that Lance Stephenson's guitar was out of tune on Saturday night.
Stephenson was called for a technical foul for taunting after making a 3-pointer with 3:18 remaining in the third quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Charlotte Hornets to put the Lakers up by 32 points en route to their eventual 128-100 victory. He got the whistle blown on him for making his way back down the court while strumming an air guitar in the direction of Hornets rookie Miles Bridges.
"I guess the refs don't like my little air guitar celebration," Stephenson said after finishing with 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in 23 minutes off the bench.
Will he go back to shredding the imaginary ax now that it cost him a technical foul?
"Oh, of course," Stephenson said. "Especially if I'm feelin' it."
Several members of the Lakers sounded as though they would have no problem if he kept it up.
"I mean, you can't take that away from Lance; it's part of who he is," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "I tried once earlier this season and he just keeps doing it. ... That's what makes him really good is his competitive greatness, and that's part of who he is."
"I don't know why he received a technical for that," LeBron James added. "That's what he does. It's part of his repertoire."
It was the second technical foul of the season for Stephenson, this one coming for rubbing it in against his former team; he played for the Hornets during the 2014-15 season.
Stephenson said he and Bridges, who, like James, is repped by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, worked out together over the summer, so there was some context to their playful back-and-forth.
"Miles challenged me, so I just showed him, like, man, I'm confident," Stephenson said. "Just a little fun."
The nine-year veteran admitted the call could have been influenced by his reputation: He was hit with 14 technical fouls during the 2013-14 season when he played for the Indiana Pacers and was generally known as an irritant.
"I usually scream on the refs a lot, so they probably think I'm the same way," Stephenson said. "But I've changed a lot."
Stephenson did some talking with his feet, too, wearing an all-white pair of the Air Jordan XVIs, while Hornets owner Michael Jordan watched on from a suite at the Spectrum Center.
Earlier in the season, Stephenson was asked about the origin of his air guitar celebration.
"I was just in practice messing around," he said. "Just came out of nowhere. Stuck with it."
Is he thinking of any song in particular when he breaks out the air guitar?
"Nah, just having fun, man," Stephenson said.
His teammates also had fun with him in the fourth quarter when he threw down an aggressive dunk with the game already in hand, causing the bench to erupt with emotion.
"I didn't know he could dunk until today," Lonzo Ball said. "That's the first time I've seen him make a dunk. So I'm very proud of him. I've never seen it. That was my first time. Lot of attempts ... but never a follow-through like that."