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Sunday, November 28, 2021

LeBron James suspended one NBA game after melee

LeBron James has been suspended for one NBA game while Detroit’s Isaiah Stewart was suspended two games for their roles in an ugly incident during Sunday’s the Los Angeles Lakers-Pistons game.

The NBA announced the suspensions on Monday, and both will affect games on Tuesday.

James will not play when the Lakers visit Madison Square Garden to play the New York Knicks.

Stewart will miss the Pistons’ home game against Miami on Tuesday and their game Wednesday at Milwaukee.

James will forfeit about $284,000 ($A390,000) in salary, while Stewart will lose about $45,000 ($A62,000).

It is the first suspension in the 19-season career of James, who has won four NBA titles with three teams.

The Lakers and Pistons meet again Sunday in Los Angeles.

Stewart, the NBA said, was disciplined for “escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively pursuing … James in an unsportsmanlike manner.”

James merited the suspension “for recklessly hitting Stewart in the face and initiating an on-court altercation,” the NBA said.

The incident happened in the third quarter as James and Stewart were jostling for position during a free throw.

Their arms appeared to get intertwined and James lashed out, making contact with Stewart, who quickly had blood streaming from above his eye and his mouth.

Cooler heads seemed to prevail, for a moment.

Stewart, 20, was guided away from the spot where the contact occurred by teammates and coaches, though he appeared to become more incensed along the way.

He then tried to double back and run toward where James was.

A number of people again blocked his path and made sure the ugly incident didn’t escalate further.

Stewart was assessed two technical fouls, James was assessed a Flagrant Foul Penalty 2, and both players were ejected from the game.

After the game, Lakers forward Anthony Davis said defended James.

“Everyone in the league knows LeBron’s not a dirty guy,” Davis said.

“In fact, when he knew he hit him, as soon as he did it, he looked back at him like ‘Oh, my bad. I didn’t try to do it’.”

James has only been ejected from one other game in his career in November 2017, playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Miami Heat.

AAP

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