KEY POINTS

  • Anthony Davis defends LeBron James after an on-court skirmish with Isaiah Stewart
  • Pistons coach also believes that  James is not a dirty player
  • The NBA is expected to hand out fines due to the incident

 

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers got only the second ejection of his NBA career against the Detroit Pistons following a skirmish with Isaiah Stewart on Sunday, November 21.

As James faces an uproar from fans and critics alike due to the incident, Anthony Davis came into the defense of his Lakers teammate.

"Everyone in the league knows LeBron isn't a dirty guy," Davis said. "As soon as he did it, he looked back and told him, 'My bad.'"

Pistons head coach Dwane Casey echoed the same sentiment when he was asked about his comment on the unfortunate on-court altercation between James and Stewart.

"I don't think James is a dirty player, but Stew cut his eye," Casey said in the post-game interview. "He felt like he had been cheap-shotted across the brow. I'm not even sure he knew who hit him."

Replays of the incident showed that James seemingly delivered an elbow to Stewart during a free throw in the third quarter, sending Detroit's big man to the floor.

James appeared to extend an apology, but Stewart was incensed as both Los Angeles and Detroit's starting five began to congregate near mid-court.

It took multiple officials and players from the Pistons' side to keep Stewart away from James and the rest of the Lakers bench.

Stewart briefly broke free and ran toward the Lakers as the scuffle seemed to stop, but he was once again stopped by teammates and coaches before being taken off the floor.

Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook was given a technical foul for his involvement that took place with 9:18 left in the third and the Lakers down 78-66.

According to a report by ESPN, Stewart needed eight stitches after the game.

Unfortunately for the Pistons, they blew a 15-point lead going into the fourth quarter as the Lakers escaped with a 121-116 victory.

The NBA is expected to mete hefty fines following the incident, the bulk of which is likely to be on Stewart for escalating the situation.

For his part, Lakers coach Frank Vogel feels that the incident may change the momentum of the team this season.

"To me, it's one of the things that can change the momentum of your season," Vogel said.

The win allowed the Lakers to improve to a 9-9 card in the Western Conference, while the loss was a double whammy for the Pistons who fell to 4-12 in the Eastern Conference.

Isaiah Stewart #28 of the Detroit Pistons is restrained as he goes after LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers Isaiah Stewart #28 of the Detroit Pistons is restrained as he goes after LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers Photo: Getty Images | Nic Antaya