LeBron James returned to the Los Angeles lineup in dominant fashion leading the Lakers to a 124-116 OT win over the Indiana Pacers.
Finishing with 39 points, five rebounds and six assists, James took over as Los Angeles outscored Indiana 12-4 in the extra period.
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Postgame, he gave his account of what happened in the incident that incensed Stewart.
"It was a box out in the free-throw line. His elbow got kinda high, if you watch the film it got me off-balance a little bit," James explained.
"I tried to swim down 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. I knew right away, I knew right away I had caught some part of his head so I went over to apologise to him and obviously you guys seen what happened after that. Definitely accidental."
Here's LeBron's explanation of what he thought happened in the scuffle with Isaiah Stewart. He understood why he was ejected, but did not agree with the league's decision to suspend him: pic.twitter.com/mu01aLUDa9- Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) November 25, 2021
Stewart made repeated attempts to get at James, requiring multiple staff members to hold him back as blood streamed down his face. Stewart received a two-game ban for the reaction, while James was sidelined for one game.
The Lakers would lose that one game without James, 106-100 at Madison Square Garden to the New York Knicks. LeBron doesn't believe he should have missed the contest.
"I'm definitely not that type of player. I hate to see that, what escalated after that.
"I didn't think it warranted...I thought it warranted an ejection because of what happened after that. Having me in the game, the excitement from the fans, what could possibly happen after that, but a suspension I didn't think was warranted but the league made that call."
Los Angeles climbed back to .500 at 10-10 on the season with the win against the Pacers, as they try to shake off a slow start to the season. Fellow star, Anthony Davis missed the game against Indiana with a fever.
Davis will have one night to recover before the Lakers host Sacramento at STAPLES Center on Friday night - tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. ET.
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