Lebron James & Isaiah Stewart Facing Suspensions After Nearly Causing a Malice at the Palace Sequel in Detroit
A game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons turned bloody and violent Sunday night in Detroit after Lebron James flagrantly fouled Piston’s Isaiah Stewart.
Following a foul shot by the Pistons, Stewart was trying to box out James when James either elbowed or punched him in the face leaving Stewart’s mouth and eye covered in blood. James was hit with a flagrant foul and ejected from the game but not before he and Stewart had a few choice words. The heated exchange escalated and Stewart went after James, as dozens of players and officials flooded the court to restrain Stewart and move James out of harms way.
An irate Stewart refused to back down and in what looked like a rushing touchdown, charged through numerous people, knocking them all to the ground as he pursued James.
Fans at Little Caesars Arena were told to stay in their seats. James stayed calm and the court altercation didn’t spill into a full blown Malice at the Palace but now Detroit has its second most infamous brawl.
Stewart was eventually ejected and then took off into the tunnel to again go after James. It’s clear that Stewart wanted to get his chance to fight James and was not giving up. James remained calm throughout which could absolve him from a suspension entirely depending on whether his role in the initiation of the fight factors in. Stewart who pursued James multiple times, knocking into people including officials could face a much harsher punishment. He never actually visibly chilled out before disappearing into the tunnel allegedly in hot pursuit of James again when he was ejected.
Twitter fans zeroed in on Lakers guard Russell Westbrook during the melee as he had someone holding him back while squaring up to take on Stewart.
The Pistons and Lakers are supposed to face off again on November 28th in Los Angeles. Stewart and James will likely both be on the sidelines.
Both players are expected to be suspended. Some commentators estimate the suspensions could run 2-3 games for both.
It’s unclear if James meant to hit Stewart as hard as he did. He was clearly trying to muscle or throw Stewart off of him. It appears James did try to check on Stewart right after Stewart went flying to the ground. Some fans say it was a backwards closed fist hit by James.
Back in 2015, J.R. Smith was suspended two games for a similar hit to Jae Crowder.
In more recent years, players who have intentionally struck other players in the face have been suspended three and four games.
Back in 2018, Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram was suspended four games, Lakers guard Rajon Rondo suspended three games and Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul suspended two games for their roles in a court altercation where punches were thrown. It started when Rondo spit in Paul’s face, according to the Rockets guard.
Ingram’s suspension was the harshest because he threw a punch at someone who was not looking, which was called a big no, no by league officials.
Prior to the 2018 melee, the league traditionally suspended players one or two games for throwing a punch but upped the ante to send a clear message.
The NBA has said in the past that it judges these incidents on a case by case basis.