On Sunday, Nov. 28, the Lakers and Pistons will meet for the first time since the LeBron James vs. Isaiah Stewart scrap that took NBA Twitter by storm.
Ironically enough, their second and final meeting comes exactly one week following the incident, sure to draw some attention to what would otherwise just be another regular season game.
What happened with James and Stewart? Here’s a recap of what transpired.
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LeBron James vs. Isaiah Stewart: The strike that led to LeBron’s first-ever suspension
LeBron James strikes Isaiah Stewart
On Sunday, Nov. 21, the Lakers and Pistons were amidst a battle that saw Detroit surprisingly leading Los Angeles through the first half. The Lakers’ struggles have been well documented, but they finally got superstar LeBron James back in the lineup after missing eight games with an abdominal strain.
While the assumption was that James’ return would solve all problems, the Lakers still found themselves trailing by 11 points on the road in Detroit with just over nine minutes remaining in the third frame.
When Jerami Grant went to the free throw line and missed his second attempt, that’s when it all went down.
LeBron James was ejected with a flagrant 2 foul on Isaiah Stewart.
(🎥 via @SportsCenter) pic.twitter.com/PJRiGCmAQw
— The Sporting News (@sportingnews) November 22, 2021
James and Stewart got tangled up, which resulted in James striking Stewart in the face. The hit cut open Stewart’s under-eye, bloodying the Pistons center. While things were somewhat tame at first, the situation escalated quickly.
Isaiah Stewart’s reaction
After exchanging a few words, Stewart began to get more worked up. As his teammates, coaches and officials tried to hold him back, he started breaking tackles like an NFL running back, charging at James.
Isaiah Stewart running after LeBron James, who was ejected for a flagrant 2
Malice in the Palace part 2? 👀pic.twitter.com/zhz2CWbwFV
— Sideline Views (@SideIineViews) November 22, 2021
As you would expect, both players were ejected from the game.
The incident sparked some life into the Lakers, who went on to win the game in comeback fashion, 121-116.
How many games were LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart suspended?
Days later, James and Stewart were disciplined for the situation.
Stewart was suspended for two games for “escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively pursuing James,” as worded by the NBA, while James was suspended for one game for “recklessly hitting” Stewart in the face.
James’ suspension marked the first of his career, holding an otherwise nearly flawless record with the NBA league office.
MORE: How many NBA MVPs have been suspended for fighting?
What did LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart say about the situation?
After James served his one-game suspension, he had one of his best games of the season in a clutch victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Following the game, he spoke on the altercation for the first time, calling his suspension “some bulls***” before pleading his case.
“There was a box out on the free-throw line. His elbow got kind of high, it got me – if you look, if you watch the film – it got me off-balanced a little bit, and his elbow lifted my arm, and I basically tried to swim move, swim down on him, on his arm.
“And when I swung down on his arm, he got off balance and the left side of my hand grazed his face. And I knew right away. So, I knew right away I had caught some part of his head. So, I went over to apologize to him, and obviously, you guys saw what happened after that. But definitely accidental.”
“I hate to see that, what escalated after that,” James continued. “I didn’t think it warranted [a suspension]. I thought it warranted an ejection because of what happened after that. Having me, probably, still in the game and the excitement from the fans and what could possibly happen after that, obviously. But a suspension, I didn’t think it was warranted. But the league made that call, and we’re here today.”
MORE: LeBron doesn’t feel suspension was warranted
Stewart served his two games before finally addressing the media on the situation following Detroit’s loss to the LA Clippers on Saturday.
“This is gonna be my last time addressing it. I watched the film. Me personally, I didn’t feel like it was an accident, but it’s my last time addressing it. My main focus right now is on my team, my teammates, getting back to playing basketball.”
He continued on to say, “I’m not gonna let that define who I am,” Stewart added. “I’m gonna let what Detroit drafted me for define who I am and the way I play basketball so I don’t want to address that no more. My main focus is on helping my teammates and coaches.”