LeBron James was ejected after striking Detroit Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart in the face while battling for a rebound and there was no question that his Los Angeles Lakers teammates had his back once the fireworks ensued.
Stewart tried to get at James multiple times but was met by Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, DeAndre Jordan and Wayne Ellington, who all stood in between their superstar and the Pistons young gun during the scuffle.
While James did not speak to the media after the second ejection of his career, Davis spoke and made it clear that the Lakers were not OK with Stewart’s actions.
“Everyone in the league knows that [LeBron James] isn’t a dirty guy. As soon as he did it, he looked back and told him, ‘My bad. I didn’t try to do it,'” Davis told the media after the game. “I don’t know what [Isaiah Stewart] was trying to do. Nobody on our team, 1-15, was having it.”
Detroit coach Dwane Casey agreed that James likely did not strike Stewart on purpose, although it did cause quite the mess, with Stewart being cut open.
“I don’t think James is a dirty player, but Stew cut his eye,” Casey said. “He felt like he had been cheap-shotted across the brow. I’m not even sure he knew who hit him.”
Westbrook Has Hilarious Reaction to Technical
Along with Stewart and James being tossed, Pistons guard Cory Joseph and Westbrook were issued technical fouls. Westbrook was seemingly unaware that he received a tech until after the game.
“I got a tech? Oh wow! Why’d I get a tech? I didn’t know I had a tech. Well, that’s interesting,” he said. “Well, you know, just being Russell I guess. When you’re Russell Westbrook, you just try to do anything, apparently. I don’t know what I did but whatever. Gotta put it on somebody. I’m an easy person to put the [expletive] on, why not me?”
Crew chief Scott Foster disclosed after the game that Westbrook was given a technical because he was viewed as “an escalator and not a peacemaker.” Screenshots of Westbrook seemingly squaring up would back this up, although no blows were thrown.
“We’re not promoting violence. I’m not promoting violence. Our security and their security did a hell of a job,” Davis said, before cracking a joke. “It’s Detroit, too. Flashbacks.”
Win Turns Into Galvanizing Moment for Lakers
It looked for a while that the Lakers would lose LeBron James to the ejection and also the game, with the Pistons building a double-digit lead. However, a 37-17 fourth quarter pushed the Lakers to victory and to 9-9 this season.
“To me, it’s one of the things that can change the momentum of your season,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said.
Westbrook and Davis led the way after James’ ejection. Davis had 30 points, 10 rebounds, while Westbrook notched 26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
“He showed that will that Russell’s famous for,” Vogel said. “His offensive determination to attack was something that was very welcome.”
The Lakers have some time to regroup before continuing the road trip against the Knicks on Tuesday.