Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was ejected from Sunday's game against the Detroit Pistons for striking Isaiah Stewart in the face while jostling for rebounding position. "Everyone in the league knows LeBron's not a dirty guy," Lakers big man Anthony Davis said.
"In fact, when he knew he hit him, as soon as he did it, he looked back at him like, 'Oh, my bad. I didn't try to do it.' " After the hit, Steward tried to confront James but he was prevented from his teammates and team personnel.
James was ejected early on in the third quarter. "[James] had an elbow [from Stewart] to the rib cage, which was a foul and he was trying to shed the contact," Vogel said. "And had incidental contact that was obviously enough for a flagrant 2."
Steward was visibly upset with James "It was a tough play with Isaiah," Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. "His eye got cracked all the way open, and he was upset for a reason. So, I don't think James is a dirty player, but again, it got them going."
The Lakers would not let Steward get his hands on James.
"I don't know what he was trying to do," Davis said. "But I know nobody on our team, 1 through 15, was having it. We're going to protect our brother.
I've never, in 10 years, seen a player try to do that as long as I've been playing. ... It's uncalled for. You got a cut above your eye, accidental-like, it wasn't on purpose. And we weren't going to allow him to keep charging our brother like that.
I don't know what he was trying to do, but we wasn't going to allow that." Meanwhile, Lakers guard Russell Westbrook got aware that he received a technical after being told by a reporter post-game. "Why'd I get a tech? I didn't know I had a tech.
Wow. That's interesting," he said. "Well, you know, that's just being Russell, I guess. When you're Russell Westbrook, they just try to do anything, apparently. Well, whatever. ... They had to put it on somebody.
I'm the easiest person to throw s--- on. Why not me?" Davis was reminded of the infamous "Malice at the Palace" incident between the Pistons and the Indiana Pacers, "We're back in Detroit too. So, flashbacks," Davis said.
"But, yeah, I mean, the NBA security, their security, our security, coaching staff, even some players did a good job of trying to de-escalate the situation."