Exactly a week ago, the Lakers and Pistons were engaged in the most intense confrontation of the season. During a free throw attempt, LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart were boxing out. As they were trying to untangle themselves, James flung his arm at Stewart to get Stewarts' arms off his, but in the process James elbow caught Stewart squarely in the face. The aftermath caused Stewart to lose his cool, as tried to attack the entire Lakers bench multiple times.
The scuffle lead to a one-game suspension for LeBron James, and two games for Isaiah Stewart.
After Friday’s game against the Clippers, Isaiah Stewart reiterated that he did not think James’ elbow was accidental.
“This is going to be my last time addressing it, I watched the film, me personally, like I said, I didn’t feel like it was an accident.”
LeBron got a chance to address what Stewart had said earlier about the incident after the Lakers loss to the Kings on Friday. He went in full detail on the play that got Stewart hit in the face.
“I saw his comments today and he felt it was intentional or wasn’t an accident, going [on the] record again saying it was. The actual chop down was on purpose to get his arm off of me. That part was on purpose but the point of my hand hitting his face was not on purpose. You can literally go through numerous of plays in the NBA where guys are chopping down on guys’ arms or hands trying to get them off of them. And if you really look at the play closely, he kind of got off balance when I chopped down and that’s how his head went into my hand.
So, it wasn’t intentional at all. I’ve never been that player. I’ve never ever tried to seek a face contact like that. It’s just not a part of my game or a part of basketball at all. But I don’t go into that game with any expectation besides us trying to come out victorious and get back to .500. That is the most important thing and that’s always been my mindset.”
In all of LeBron James 19 years in the NBA, he has never been known for being a dirty player. There has been much debate amongst fans on if James’ elbow was accidental or not. As for the players, it’s going to look like both James and Stewart will just have to agree to disagree sooner than later, because both teams will matchup at Staples Center tonight.