January 22, 2022

Lakers, Pistons pour cold water on LeBron James-Isaiah Stewart rematch

View Original Notice ? Lakers, Pistons pour cold water on LeBron James-Isaiah Stewart rematch

Mittens & Max - Personalized Pet Urns-Keepsakes-Jewelry

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, gets past to shoot against Detroit Pistons guard Hamidou Diallo, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony, center, has the ball knocked away by Detroit Pistons forward Trey Lyles (8) with guard Cory Joseph, right, defending during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart (28) blocks a shot by Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Detroit Pistons guard Cory Joseph (18) knocks the ball out of Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook’s hands during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, center, vies of the ball with Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis, center, gets a piece of Detroit Pistons forward Trey Lyles, right, knocking the ball away with guard Cory Joseph, left, looking on during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, bottom left, drives between Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) and guard Killian Hayes (7) to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

of

Expand

LOS ANGELES — A week ago, they at each other’s throats. But in the moments before tip-off on Sunday evening, LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart conspicuously avoided one another as they settled in for the game.

Stewart stood at center court waiting to tip against DeAndre Jordan. Minutes before, the Staples Center crowd had booed him — which is what happens when you attempt to chase down the franchise star. By the scorer’s table, James was tossing chalk into the air, his familiar ritual, but then immediately went to the backcourt without greeting his opponents individually as he normally might.

Both James and Stewart — and the Lakers and Pistons by extension — were a little on edge after their dust-up that left Stewart bloody and enraged, and both players suspended. Forgiveness doesn’t seem to be in anybody’s future, especially since Stewart said Friday that he still didn’t believe James’ closed fist strike was accidental. But still, professionalism ruled the day.

“To me, it’s just about raised awareness,” coach Frank Vogel said. “We’re all pros in this, and I don’t anticipate anything like (retribution). But we’ll have a raised awareness.”

There was certainly a raised awareness in the Staples Center crowd, who booed Stewart when he took his first two free throws of the game in the first quarter — and cheered when he missed the first. On a second-quarter possession when James rotated into guard Stewart, the audience rumbled with curiosity, but Stewart quickly passed out preventing the one-on-one the people wished to see.

The crowd in Detroit got plenty of Stewart vs. James last Sunday, when James hit Stewart and drew blood, leading Stewart to mount three charges at the Lakers’ superstar. The ensuing scene briefly seized the spotlight in the NBA, and led the league to issue James the first-ever suspension of his career. Stewart served two games before saying Friday that he wished to move forward and not focus on the incident.

Detroit head coach Dwane Casey said Stewart’s dust-up with James wasn’t on his mind at all when thinking back to that first match-up. He was more upset that the Pistons lost after leading by 17 points. His focus into the rematch was tactical, he said.

“We had the game under control, under wraps,” Casey said. “And we kinda lost that mojo a little bit going into the fourth quarter. … That’s what we gotta grow into, is finishing games.”

For his part, James seemed intent on letting Stewart know that he didn’t mean to hit him in the face. After Stewart’s comments Friday, James again went through his move and said while he did mean to chop down on him, he didn’t mean to strike him in the face. But that’s likely the final word on the matter.

When asked if he was anxious at all about seeing Stewart again, James demurred.

“I don’t go into that game with any expectations besides us trying to come out victorious and get back to .500,” he said. “That is the most important thing and that’s always been my mindset.”

Previous post LeBron James, Lakers scrape by Pistons
Next post Hollywood Christmas Parade returns to spotlight after pandemic-spurred hiatus
Close
Mittens & Max - Keeping the Loving Memories of your pet