Anthony Davis insisted LeBron James is not 'dirty' after a Pistons player tried to fight him over a violent strike
- LeBron James was ejected after hitting the Pistons' Isaiah Stewart in the face.
- A bloodied Stewart repeatedly tried to fight James but was held off.
Anthony Davis said LeBron James' ejection on Sunday is not indicative of who he is.
James was ejected after violently striking Detroit Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart on a box-out. As James wrestled to get free from Stewart, he struck Stewart with a closed fist to the face. Stewart then repeatedly charged after James, blood dripping from his face, as Pistons players, coaches, and security tried to hold him back.
—Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 22, 2021
Despite the violent hit, which looked incidental, but nonetheless occurred with a closed fist, Davis defended James after the game.
"Everyone in the league knows LeBron's not a dirty guy," Davis told reporters after the game. "In fact, when he knew he hit him, as soon as he did it, he looked back at him like, 'Oh, my bad. I didn't try to do it.'"
Pistons head coach Dwane Casey also echoed Davis, but said he understood Stewart's frustration.
"It was a tough play with Isaiah," Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. "His eye got cracked all the way open, and he was upset for a reason. So, I don't think James is a dirty player, but again, it got them going."
Stewart needed eight stitches after the game, according to The Athletic's James Edwards III.
James does have a startlingly clean record considering how much time he has spent in the NBA. According to ESPN, in 1,318 career games, James has received just 67 technical fouls, 8 flagrant fouls, and two ejections, including Sunday's.
Still, perhaps because of his size and physicality, players have taken exception to plays made by James. Earlier in 2021, Joel Embiid said James should have been ejected for shoving him in the air, causing Embiid to fall hard to the court.
James did not speak to reporters after Sunday's game.
Davis also told reporters that the Lakers were not going to let Stewart near James.
"I know nobody on our team, 1 through 15, was having it," Davis said, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "We're going to protect our brother. I've never, in 10 years, seen a player try to do that as long as I've been playing. ... It's uncalled for. You got a cut above your eye, accidental-like, it wasn't on purpose. And we weren't going to allow him to keep charging our brother like that. I don't know what he was trying to do, but we wasn't going to allow that."
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