The Los Angeles Lakers had to play without LeBron James in Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks due to the four-time NBA champion’s first career suspension.
The NBA penalized James for his role in the extraordinary altercation during the Lakers’ 121-116 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. The 36-year-old All-Star punched Pistons center Isaiah Stewart as he tried to free himself from Detroit’s big man’s grip.
The two players wrestled outside of the Pistons’ paint as Jerami Grant attempted his second free throw following Anthony Davis’ shooting foul in the third quarter.
The bloodied Stewart then furiously tried to charge at James on numerous occasions even though the Lakers’ superstar apologized for catching the Pistons center’s eye with his hand. In the end, the NBA suspended Stewart for two games and James for one after both had been thrown out of the Sunday clash.
“It’s unfortunate,” Vogel said, commenting on James’ suspension ahead of the outing against the Knicks.
“We all know that LeBron is one of the classiest guys in the league and plays the game the right way at all times and the league has their decision to make. It’s really 100% out of our control so it doesn’t really matter what we think about it.”
The NBA explained James’ penalty stemmed from “recklessly hitting Stewart in the face and initiating an on-court altercation.”
Anthony Davis took exception to that explanation as he was surprised by the suspension.
“I was surprised. I didn’t think he was gonna get suspended, I don’t think anyone thought he was gonna be suspended to be honest. It was an accident, he accidentally hit him in the face. But I guess the report came out and said his hit to the face caused the incident, which is weird because he can’t control how a guy is gonna react.
“Guys get hit in the face all the time and we’re saying that caused the incident? I get hit in my face probably more than anyone and if I go off and do all that…it was strange. But there’s nothing we can do about it, he’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
Davis defends James after brawl in win over Pistons
Anthony Davis came to James’ defense following the events of Sunday’s victory over Detroit.
“Everyone in the league knows LeBron’s not a dirty guy,” Davis said. “As soon as he did it, he looked back at him and told him ‘my bad, I didn’t try to do it.’”
Davis added the Lakers were ready to defend “their brother” if Stewart had managed to come within close vicinity of James.
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