LeBron James says he just 'grazed' Isaiah Stewart when he smacked him and left his face pouring with blood
- LeBron James has played down the severity of his hit on Isaiah Stewart.
- James left the Pistons star's face pouring with blood after connecting with his face during a game on Sunday.
LeBron James has said he merely "grazed" Isaiah Stewart with his hand in the incident that caused the two players to clash on the court and left the Detroit Pistons star's face pouring with blood.
James was ejected in the third quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers win over the Pistons on Sunday after hitting Stewart in the face as the two jostled for a rebound position.
Stewart was left bleeding profusely above the eye from the hit and had to be restrained by staff as he aggressively tried to confront the Lakers star.
—SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 22, 2021
The incident at the Little Caesars Arena landed both players a suspension.
James was suspended for one game for "recklessly hitting" Stewart and "initiating an on-court altercation." Stewart was banned for two games for "escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively pursuing James in an unsportsmanlike manner."
James returned from his first career suspension to score 39 points against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, after which he spoke about altercation with Stewart.
"There was a boxout on the free throw line," he told reporters.
"His elbow got kind of high, it got me — if you look, if you watch the film — it got me off balanced a little bit, and his elbow lifted my arm, and I basically tried to swim move, swim down on him, on his arm.
"And when I swung down on his arm, he got off balance and the left side of my hand grazed his face. And I knew right away. So, I knew right away I had caught some part of his head. So, I went over to apologize to him, and obviously, you guys saw what happened after that. But definitely accidental."
James added that despite the incident quickly turning ugly, he didn't think it warranted a suspension for neither him or Stewart.
"I hate to see that, what escalated after that," he continued. "I didn't think it warranted [a suspension]. I thought it warranted an ejection because of what happened after that.
"Having me, probably, still in the game and the 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."
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