Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James doesn’t believe a suspension was warranted for his involvement in the altercation with Detroit big man Isaiah Stewart.
James made a dominant return to the lineup against Indiana, pouring in 39 points to go along with five rebounds and six assists in the 124-116 OT win.
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Postgame, he gave his account of what happened in the incident that incensed Stewart.
“It was a box out in the free-throw line. His elbow got kinda high, if you watch the film it got me off-balance a little bit,” James explained.
“I tried to swim down on his arm and when I swung down on his arm he got off-balance and the left side of my hand grazed his face. I knew right away, I knew right away I had caught some part of his head so I went over to apologize to him and obviously you guys seen what happened after that. Definitely accidental.”
Stewart made repeated attempts to get at James, requiring multiple staff members to hold him back as blood streamed down his face. Stewart received a two-game ban for the reaction, while James was sidelined for one game.
The Lakers would lose that one game without James, 106-100 at Madison Square Garden to the New York Knicks. LeBron doesn’t believe he should have missed the contest.
“I’m definitely not that type of player. I hate to see that, what escalated after that.
“I didn’t think it warranted…I thought it warranted an ejection because of what happened after that. Having me in the game, the excitement from the fans, what could possibly happen after that, but a suspension I didn’t think was warranted but the league made that call.”
Los Angeles climbed back to .500 at 10-10 on the season with the win against the Pacers, as they try to shake off a slow start to the season. Fellow star, Anthony Davis missed the game against Indiana with a fever.
Davis will have one night to recover before the Lakers host Sacramento at STAPLES Center – tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. ET.
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