LeBron James ejected for hitting Isaiah Stewart in the face

Lebron James was ejected from the Lakers vs Pistons game after hitting Isaiah Stewart in the face. Anthony Davis defends the LA star, “he isn’t a dirty guy”

LeBron James ejected for punching Isaiah Stewart in the face
Nic Antaya AFP

LeBron James was ejected from the Lakers vs Pistons game on Sunday and charged with a type 2 foul after hitting Isaiah Stewart in the face.

LeBron’s elbow against Stewart’s face

Three minutes into the third quarter, James appeared to have forced his elbow against Stewart's eye during a free throw that brought the Detroit player to his knees.

Stewart's face was gushing with blood, and even though James appeared to have extended an apology, Stewart was not having any; he repeatedly tried to chase James while his teammates and coaches tried to calm him down, sparking a major brawl between the players and staff.

James’s second ejection of his career

Referees had security guards escort LeBron to the locker room just in case Stewart was waiting to confront him again.

When the staff was able to keep both players away, the play was reviewed and the referees decided LeBron’s hit was intentional, and therefore punishable by a flagrant type 2 foul. James was then sent off, while Stewart received two technical fouls for his behavior and was also sent off. Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook was called for a technical foul.

Anthony Davis, LeBron's teammate, publicly defended James saying it was an unintentional act, and “everybody knows LeBron isn't a dirty guy." He further claimed that as soon as James swung his elbow, he looked back at Stewart and said “my bad.”

On the brawl that came after the hit, Davis commented "I don't know what (Stewart) was trying to do. I've never seen a player get like that, he was out of place. You got a cut above your eye, accidentally, it wasn’t on purpose. We weren't going to allow him to keep charging our brother like that."

In his 18 seasons in the NBA, LeBron had only been sent off once, for protesting to umpires in 2017, when he was a member of the Cavaliers and played against the Heat, his former team.

Pistons coach Dwane Casey said Stewart received nine stitches to his eye. He also added that he should not be sanctioned by the NBA. "He was upset," Casey said. "He shouldn't face anything. Not going back to the court is punishment enough. I don't think the NBA should sanction him."

The game ended with a tight 121-116 in favor of the Lakers thanks to great work by Anthony Davis (30 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks and 4 steals).

To add the cherry on top, the Lakers and Pistons will meet again next Sunday in Los Angeles.