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LeBron James suspended one game for role in altercation against Pistons

The NBA has handed down punishment for the Lakers vs. Pistons fracas centered around LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart on Sunday night.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The NBA has announced that LeBron James has been suspended for one game after he struck Isaiah Stewart in the face to spark the kerfuffle between Lakers and Pistons on Sunday night. As a result, he will miss the team’s game against the New York Knicks on Tuesday in Madison Square Garden.

Additionally, Stewart will be suspended for two games for “escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively pursuing James in an unsportsmanlike manner.”

Neither player was assessed any additional fines.

The incident in question occurred in the the third quarter of the Lakers121-116 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night, when James tried to push Stewart off of him after a particularly physical box out and struck him in the face, leading to a cascade of blood spilling down Stewart’s face as the two teams had to be separated. Stewart then tried to break multiple tackles to go after James multiple times before finally being corralled towards the locker room.

After the Lakers completed a wild comeback to win the game without James, Anthony Davis and Lakers head coach Frank Vogel defended James, trying to get ahead of any potential punishment from the league.

“It was unfortunate contact,” Vogel added. “[LeBron] had an elbow to the ribcage, which was a foul and he was trying to shed the contact, and he had incidental contact. It was obviously enough for a Flagrant 2, but the reaction was what it was, and I think our guys did a good job protecting a teammate but not trying to escalate.”

“Everyone in the league knows Bron is not a dirty guy,” Davis added. “As soon as he (LeBron) did it, he looked back at him and told him ‘oh, my bad, I didn’t try to do it.’”

But intentional or not, the hostile act will now leave the Lakers without their star once again after he only just returned from injury last week. Los Angeles will finish its current road trip with a game against the Knicks on Tuesday without James, before getting their star back vs. the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. Then, the team will return home to host the Sacramento Kings on Friday and face... these very same Pistons once again next Sunday at the venue soon to be known as The Crypt.

Needless to say, last one should be must-watch television after all this.

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