A few days ago, NBA fans remembered the 17th anniversary of “Malice at the Palace”, the biggest brawl in the history of the best basketball league in the world. Last night it was close to a repeat, again in a hall in Detroit.
The brawl took place in the third quarter, when the hosts were leading 78:66. Moments after Jerami Grant’s successful free kick, Isaiah Stewart confronted LeBron James under the basket. The Pistons basketball player pushed the Lakers star, and James did not remain in debt – he rolled back and punched his opponent in the face.
The blow was strong enough that blood was shed from under Stewart’s eye. Nevertheless, he immediately rushed to James, which caused quite a fight on the dance floor. After watching all the repetitions, the judges sent both players to the dressing rooms. Which, however, did not turn out to be so easy.
20-year-old Stewart has made several attempts to break free from the embrace that separated him from James from his Pistons colleagues. When the young player broke free from “protection,” he tried to hunt down the Lakers even in the dressing room.
James fired for “unreasonable and violent blow”
“The contact was initiated by Stewart, who committed the foul, followed by James, who committed a Grade II unsportsmanlike offense for unjustified and violent hitting an opponent over the shoulder line,” said referee Scott Foster to The Athletic.
“Stewart, in turn, was ruled out for two technical fouls for numerous unsportsmanlike conduct during an argument with a rival,” the referee added.
This is only the second time in James’s 19-year career that he has been thrown from the dance floor. He was first sent prematurely to the dressing room by the judges in 2017 when the Cavaliers hosted James’s former team, the Miami Heat. After the match, however, “Król” did not want to talk to journalists. Likewise his rival.
Colleagues and coaches excused James and Stewart. Everyone knows LeBron is not a dirty game player. Shortly after he did so, he approached his rival with an apology, explaining that he did not want to hit him. I don’t know what Stewart wanted to do afterwards. Our team did not understand his behavior, said fellow Lakers star Anthony Davis after the game.
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– Stewart was very disappointed after the incident. But I told him not to let this situation call him a player. I was sorry for this boy who is brave and gives his best on the dance floor. He’s a great kid who got a senseless slap in the face today. It would all look different on the street – Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey explained to his player.
After the game, the net went wild. Former Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas Instagram wrote to Stewart. “Brother, I’ll be honest. You can’t just hit LeBron James like that. Now pack your bags and warm jackets or the Pistons will transfer you to Budapest or wherever,” Arenas joked.
The referee also punished Russell Westbrook with a technical fault for the trouble on the court. For “fueling the mood and not softening the conflict”. – They really punished me? I didn’t even know. It’s interesting, Russ said, surprised after the meeting.
The Lakers are better than the Pistons. A great chase in the fourth quarter
The Los Angeles Lakers finally defeated the Pistons 121: 116, despite losing by seventeen points (82:99) at the end of the third quarter. The last quarter, in which the Lakers won 37:17, decided everything. The guests were led by the duo of Anthony Davis (30 points) and Russell Westbrook (26), and Carmelo Anthony contributed 18 points. Jerami Grant was the best for the hosts, scoring 36 points.
– This is one of those moments that can change the course of the season – said coach Frank Vogel after the match. “My players were defending their colleague, then they showed strength and won the game,” added the Lakers coach.
In other games, the Chicago Bulls scored their 12th victory this season, defeating the New York Knicks 109: 103 and advancing to first place in the Eastern Conference. In the west, the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns are fleeing their rivals. The former defeated the Toronto Raptors 119: 104, while the Suns scored their 12th consecutive win, beating the Denver Nuggets 126: 97
Results of Sunday’s NBA games:
Los Angeles Clippers – Dallas Mavericks 97:91
Detroit Pistons – Los Angeles Lakers 116: 121
Chicago Bulls – New York Knicks 109: 103
Phoenix Suns – Denver Nuggets 126: 97
Golden State Warriors – Toronto Raptors 119: 104