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Lakers' LeBron James, Pistons' Isaiah Stewart suspended for on-court altercation

Lakers' LeBron James, Pistons' Isaiah Stewart suspended for on-court altercation
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, shown Sept. 8, 2020, received a one-game suspension for his role in the scuffle during Sunday's game against the Detroit Pistons. File Photo by Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE

Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was suspended one game for "recklessly hitting" Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart in the face during their on-court altercation, the NBA announced Monday.

Stewart, meanwhile, was issued a two-game suspension for "escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively pursuing" James during Sunday's matchup between the Lakers and Pistons.

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James will serve his one-game ban Tuesday when the Lakers visit the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Stewart will miss the Pistons' home matchup against the Miami Heat on Tuesday and Wednesday's game at the Milwaukee Bucks.

Stewart also will lose about $45,000 in salary, while James will forfeit about $284,000.

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The incident occurred while both players were jostling for positioning during a free-throw attempt early in the third quarter. Their arms appeared to get intertwined and James wildly swung his left elbow, striking Stewart in the face.

Stewart, who suffered a laceration above his right eye and a cut lip, quickly got to his feet and approached James as blood streamed from his wounds. Stewart was eventually dragged away from the spot where the initial contact happened, but he became enraged and tried to double back toward James.

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Multiple players and coaches blocked his path and prevented Stewart from reaching James. Shortly after that attempt, Stewart again tried to barrel through a number of people to confront James, but he was again subdued and led to the locker room.

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Stewart was assessed two technical fouls, and James was given a Flagrant 2 foul. Both players were ejected from the game.

It is the first suspension in the 19-year career of James, who has won four NBA championships with three teams. The Lakers and Pistons are scheduled to meet again Sunday in Los Angeles.

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