On Sunday evening in Detroit, Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart did something few thought possible: he made LeBron James backpedal faster than a question about China. After James threw an elbow that left him equal parts bloodied and pissed off, Stewart went after James with all the fury of an Enes Kanter tweet. LBJ then did what he does best — he walked away from a difficult situation.
“Everyone in the league knows LeBron’s not a dirty guy,” Lakers forward Anthony Davis said after the game. “As soon as he [threw an elbow], he looked back at [Stewart] like, ‘Oh, my bad. I didn’t try to do it.'”
Stewart apparently didn’t accept the apology.
LeBron ejected for a cheap shot and then things really got crazy. pic.twitter.com/7b2fNrknF8
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) November 22, 2021
As the video shows, after a missed free throw attempt, LeBron tossed an unnecessary elbow into Stewart’s face less than five minutes into the third. Play was stopped almost instantly once it was discovered that Stewart was bleeding heavily. Stewart was understandably none to pleased with the cheap shot and appeared ready to return the favor before the officials and players and coaches from both teams temporarily separated the two.
But Stewart was in no mood to bow down to the king. Detroit’s big man relentlessly tried to break through those holding him back, blood still dripping from his face, to no avail. Both Stewart and James were ejected – James for a flagrant 2 foul and Stewart for two technicals.
Malice at the Palace 2.0 then appeared to be over as Stewart made his way towards the locker room.
But he changed his mind.
The Saints trying to tackle Marshawn Lynch pic.twitter.com/iJARbJNF9t
— Pardon My Take (@PardonMyTake) November 22, 2021
Stewart, looking like Lions legend Barry Sanders bobbing and weaving his way through Little Caesars Arena, made one last attempt to go one-on-one with James. But the Lakers star didn’t want that smoke. As Stewart charged, James can be seen standing behind a referee and doing his best defensive back imitation, back pedaling towards the baseline.
James’ decision to retreat once the odds were against him should look familiar to fans in both Cleveland and Miami.
Eventually James and Stewart were both escorted to the locker room without incident, and Los Angeles went on to win 121-116.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF