On Sunday night, the Lakers pulled off a double-digit comeback in the second half in Detroit to pull back to .500 on the season at 9-9, but the focus after the game wasn’t on Anthony Davis taking over late with 30 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, five blocks, and four steals.
Instead it was on the third quarter incident between LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart that resulted in both players being ejected after James hit Stewart in the eye with a backfist, cutting the Pistons big man, who steadily grew more upset about the situation and tried on three separate occasions to break free of his teammates and Pistons staffers trying to hold him back to go fight James and the Lakers.
It was a wild scene at Little Caesars Arena, with the Pistons PA announcer reminding fans over and over not to step on the floor or throw things from the stands, clearly remembering the Malice in the Palace and trying to ensure nothing like that happened again. On Monday, everyone awaited the league’s decision regarding further punishment and fines for Stewart, LeBron, and anyone else who was deemed to escalate the situation.
The final verdict arrived on Monday afternoon, with the league handing out a one game suspension for James for his blow to Stewart’s eye, while the Pistons big man earned two games for his refusal to calm down and continued efforts to fight all of the Lakers on the court.
That means LeBron will miss Tuesday night’s showdown with the Knicks in Madison Square Garden on TNT, while Stewart will be out against Miami and Milwaukee, which will make for tough sledding for an already shallow Pistons frontcourt against two physical teams.