LeBron James cheap shot on Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart sparks melee, ejections

James appeared to punch Stewart in face

Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart (28) is held back after a foul during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) (Carlos Osorio, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A near-brawl broke out at Little Caesars Arena on Sunday night after Lakers star LeBron James appeared to punch Pistons center Isaiah Stewart in the face after a free throw.

Video replay showed James appear to intentionally punch Stewart in the face after boxing out for a free throw in the third quarter of the Pistons-Lakers game on Sunday night in Detroit.

Stewart immediately charged James, with blood dripping down his face from the punch, as teammates and coaches tried to hold Stewart back. The second-year big man tried to reach LeBron several times, charging him across the court as teammates desperately tried to get him off the court.

The Pistons arena announcer Mason repeatedly told fans to stay off the court -- and to not throw anything on the court during the incident.

Both James and Stewart were ejected from the game.

The Lakers eventually won the game, overcoming a 14-point Pistons lead in the fourth quarter to steal the win. Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham recorded his first triple-double, the youngest in franchise history to pull it off.

Neither James or Stewart were made available to the media after the game.

The Pistons and Lakers meet again on Nov. 28 in Los Angeles.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 21: Isaiah Stewart #28 of the Detroit Pistons is restrained after receiving a blow to the face by LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the third quarter of the game at Little Caesars Arena on November 21, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) (2021 Getty Images)

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Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.