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LeBron James, Isaiah Stewart ejected after on-court brawl

LeBron James, Isaiah Stewart ejected after on-court brawl
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James was ejected for the second time of his career in the third quarter on Sunday in Detroit. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 22 (UPI) -- LeBron James hit Isaiah Stewart in the eye, prompting and on-court brawl and ejections for the forwards in the third quarter of a Los Angeles Lakers victory over the Detroit Pistons.

The melee occurred with 9:18 remaining in the quarter Sunday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The Lakers won 121-116.

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The altercation could lead to additional fines or suspensions from the NBA. James and Stewart did not speak to reporters after the game. The early exit marked the second ejection of James' career.

"Everyone in the league knows LeBron's not a dirty guy," Lakers forward Anthony Davis told reporters. "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.'"

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The Pistons held a 77-66 advantage about three minutes into the quarter when forward Jerami Grant stepped up to the foul line to shoot a free throw. Grant released and made the shot, giving the Pistons a 12-point lead.

James and Stewart pushed each other for position during the play, attempting to improve their ability to pull down a potential rebound.

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James pulled back his left arm and backhanded Stewart's face. The hit caused blood to seep out near Stewart's right eye.

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Stewart got up and attempted to get back to James, but Pistons and Lakers players kept them apart. Pistons players and staff members brought Stewart to the other side of the court, but the forward broke free and spinted back toward James.

Stewart ran through the arms of several staff members and knocked down others to return to Lakers players. He was then escorted back to the tunnel.

James was given a Flagrant-Type-2 personal foul and ejected. Stewart was given two technical fouls and ejected.

The Pistons led 99-84 to end the third quarter. The Lakers outscored the Pistons 37-17 in the fourth. Lakers guard Russell Westbrook scored 15 of his 26 points in the final 12 minutes. Lakers forward Anthony Davis scored 12 of his team-high 30 points in the fourth quarter.

Grant scored a game-high 36 points in the loss. Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham totaled 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

James totaled 10 points and five assists in 21:26. Stewart totaled four points, one assist and one rebound.

"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."

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The Lakers (9-9) face the New York Knicks (9-8) at 7:30 p.m. EST Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Pistons (4-12) host the Miami Heat (11-6) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena.

Moments from LeBron James' career

St. Vincent-St. Mary High School senior LeBron James (L) drives around a Zanesvuille defender in Akron, Ohio, on February 14, 2003. James is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. A couple months later, the Cleveland Cavaliers coach was suspended because James worked out with the team before he graduated from high school. Photo by Tom Cammett/UPI | License Photo

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