If you didn't happen to catch the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons game Sunday night, you missed quite a bit of action, particularly in the second half of the game. Tempers flared when LeBron James levied Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart with a hit to the eye when he swung his arm in a backward motion. Stewart's eye was bloodied from the contact, and his reaction forced players, coaches and security guards to try and calm him down well after he was assessed two technical fouls, which resulted in an automatic ejection from the game:
There was a lot going on during this incident, between Stewart trying to be corralled by teammates and coaches and officials trying to pull the Lakers away from the incident. But when the dust settled, Stewart was ejected from the game, as well as James, who was given a Flagrant-2 for the punch. However, there was another technical handed out by the officials as well. Russell Westbrook received one, and was unaware until reporters brought it up after the game.
First Westbrook asks, "Who got a tech?" Then says, "Oh wow, why'd I get a tech?" after checking the box score in front of him. To answer Westbrook's question, crew chief of the game Scott Foster explained after the game that he was considered an "escalator and not a peacemaker," in the incident.
If you watch the video you can see Westbrook try to escape a Lakers staff member to get involved in the skirmish. Then at the very end of the video when Stewart comes charging back at the Lakers players, Westbrook can be seen squaring up like he was prepared to fight.
Given that Westbrook was only given the one technical, he may not face any other punishment past that. But when reviewing the entirety of the situation the league could potentially fine him for -- as Foster put it -- not being a "peacemaker."
Although getting a technical is never ideal, the fact that Westbrook didn't know about it may have been a silver lining for the Lakers based on how the rest of the game turned out. After L.A. was down by 17 points, Westbrook opened the fourth quarter by putting up 11 points in the first six minutes to help lead the Lakers' comeback win. Anthony Davis put the finishing touches on the comeback, and though it was messier than L.A. intended it to be, the Lakers grabbed the win, moving them back to .500 on the season at 9-9.
Now the Lakers will have to wait and see if LeBron is available for Tuesday's game against the New York Knicks based on the NBA's review of the altercation. If he isn't, L.A. will need Westbrook and Davis to duplicate their fourth-quarter performances if they want to win at Madison Square Garden.