Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has been suspended one game for “recklessly hitting” Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart in the face during their altercation in Sunday’s game, the NBA announced on Monday.
Stewart has been suspended two games for “escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively pursuing” James, who will serve his suspension on Tuesday when the Lakers visit the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Stewart will miss the Pistons’ home game against Miami on Tuesday and their game Wednesday at Milwaukee. James will forfeit about $284,000 in salary, while Stewart will lose about $45,000.
The incident happened in the third quarter as James and Stewart were jostling for position during a free throw. Their arms appeared to get intertwined and James swung his elbow, striking Stewart, who quickly had blood streaming from above his eye.
Cooler heads seemed to prevail, for a moment. Stewart was guided away from the spot where the contact occurred by teammates and coaches, though he appeared to become more incensed along the way. He then tried to double back and run toward James.
A number of people again blocked his path and made sure the incident didn’t get uglier. Stewart was assessed two technical fouls, James a flagrant foul 2, and both players were ejected.
It’s the first suspension in the 19-year career of James, who has won four NBA titles with three teams. The Lakers and Pistons meet again Sunday in Los Angeles.