LeBron James returned for the Lakers after serving out his 1-game suspension for the incident with Isaiah Stewart. James hit Stewart in the face during a free-throw tangle. Stewart was enraged, and tried fighting James, and received a 2-game suspension of his own.
James was spectacular on his return, seemingly upset about the Lakers’ situation. He ended up scoring 39 points, including a dagger three in overtime to get the Lakers the much-needed win. And it appears James’ anger may have been fuelled by the suspension.
LeBron James spoke after the game about the suspension, explaining the incident itself, and doubling down on the fact that it was unintentional. James said that while an ejection was okay, he didn’t believe a suspension was warranted for the incident.
“What happened was, it was a box-out. His elbow got kinda high and it got me off balance a little bit, and his elbow lifted my arm…and I basically tried to swing down on him, on his arm. And when I swing down on his arm, he got off balance and the side of my hand, you know, grazed his face. I knew right away I had caught some part of his head, so I went over to apologize to him and, obviously, you guys see what happened after that... I think it warranted an ejection because of what [might have] happened after that. You know, with me still in the game and excitement from the fans and what could possibly happen after that, obviously, but a suspension, I didn’t think it was warranted.”
Clearly, James’ frustration came out on the court, and he was able to channel that frustration into a game-winning performance. Fans were thrilled to see James dominate against Indiana. The Lakers will be hoping that James stays just as motivated going forward, as they desperately need LeBron to resurrect their season.
LeBron and the Lakers will be focused on the task at hand, which is just winning games. They have had a stop-start introduction to the season, and seriously need to find some momentum as they go forward in the season.