LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart will be seeing each other on the court in just over 24 hours from now in a game that nobody initially had circled on their calender.
It’s been just over a week since the bloody incident involving them two that saw Stewart reacting like a mad man trying to attack LeBron James after his fist made contact with his face as they battled for position following a free throw.
After Stewart maintained his belief that James hit him in the face intentionally, the Lakers star fired right back at him.
“I don’t go into a game and make it an individual thing,” James detailed during his November 26th press conference. “I saw his comments today and he felt it was intentional or wasn’t an accident, going [on the] record again saying it was. The actual chop down was on purpose to get his arm off of me. That part was on purpose but the point of my hand hitting his face was not on purpose.”
“You can literally go through numerous of plays in the NBA where guys are chopping down on guys’ arms or hands trying to get them off of them. And if you really look at the play closely, he kind of got off balance when I chopped down and that’s how his head went into my hand.”
“So, it wasn’t intentional at all. I’ve never been that player. I’ve never ever tried to seek a face contact like that. It’s just not a part of my game or a part of basketball at all, so. But I don’t go into that game with any expectation besides us trying to come out victorious and get back to .500. That is the most important thing and that’s always been my mindset.”
Stewart had just returned from his two-game suspension when the team took on the Clippers, but had remained silent about the entire incident. After the game, he stated he would address it for the “last time.”
“This is going to be my last time addressing it, I watched the film, me personally, like I said, I didn’t feel like it was an accident,” Stewart told reporters on November 26. “But this is my last time addressing it, my main focus right now is on my team and my teammates and getting back to playing basketball. I’m not going to let that define who I am. I am going to let what Detroit drafted me for define who I am and the way I play basketball. I don’t want to address that no more. My main focus is on helping my teammates and coaches.”
LeBron was fined this week over his celebration dance against the Pacers, and he was also warned about cursing in his postgame interview after the victory in Indiana when discussing the suspension.
“I hate to see that, well, what escalated after that, and I didn’t think it warranted [a suspension],” James noted during a November 24th press conference. “I thought [it] warranted an ejection because of what happened after that. Having me probably still in the game and excitement from the fans and what could possibly happen after that, obviously. But a suspension, I didn’t think it was warranted, but the league made that call and we’re here today.”
The Lakers are coming off a triple overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings that dropped them to 10-11 on the year.