LOS ANGELES (AFP) – LeBron James has been suspended for one game following his bloody clash with Detroit Pistons player Isaiah Stewart, the NBA said Monday.
Los Angeles Lakers star James was ejected for only the second time in his career after wildly lashing out at Stewart during Sunday’s victory over the Pistons.
Stewart was left with blood pouring from a facial injury following the flashpoint, and needed to be restrained repeatedly by teammates and staff as he attempted to confront James.
The 20-year-old Stewart was given a two-game suspension for his part in the altercation.
The NBA said Stewart had been given a two-game ban for “escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively pursuing (James) in an unsportsmanlike manner.”
James’ suspension, which means he will miss the Lakers game against the New York Knicks on Tuesday, was for “recklessly hitting Stewart in the face and initiating an on-court altercation.”
The incident occurred with 9:18 remaining in the third quarter and the Lakers trailing 79-67. James swung an arm into Stewart’s face as the pair battled for rebounding position.
Stewart was initially whistled for a loose ball foul. Following a video review, James was then slapped with a flagrant foul too and sent to the locker room.
Stewart was handed two technical fouls and thrown out.
Lakers star Anthony Davis later said James had struck Stewart unintentionally.
“Everyone in the league knows that (James) isn’t a dirty guy. As soon as he did it, he looked back and told him, ‘My bad. I didn’t try to do it,’” Davis said.
“I don’t know what (Stewart) was trying to do. Nobody on our team, 1-15, was having it,” he said.