JJ Redick on Isaiah Stewart’s retaliation: “LeBron instigated it 100%.”

Nov 21, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) walks off the court after being ejected from the game during the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Retired sharpshooter JJ Redick joined ESPN’s First Take to discuss Sunday’s altercation between LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart. Redick shared his thoughts on the incident, which LeBron instigated, and whether Stewart’s two-game suspension was a fair one. While he believes two games are reasonable, he understands why Stewert reacted the way he did.

“LeBron instigated it 100%. He didn’t do anything to escalate it afterward. Isaiah Stewart, after initially being fairly reserved in his reaction, started to taste his own blood. And we all know what that’s like. He went into a fit of rage. He escalated the situation. He probably did deserve more games than LeBron, but I think two games is fair.”

JJ Redick

While Redick’s opinion on the suspension differs from Jay Williams’, his comments on the situation are reasonable. The replay shows that James struck Stewart in the face while battling for a rebound, LeBron instigated the altercation. After the initial shock, Stewart went on a rampage in an attempt to retaliate. The Detroit Pistons’ center even took to the tunnels to look for James. While being upset is understandable, there has to be some level of restraint in future incidents.

Five-game suspension would be “excessive”

While host Stephen A. Smith believed Stewart should receive a five-game suspension, Redick reiterated that would be excessive due to this being a first-time offense.

“Here’s my issue with giving him a five-game suspension. The guy hasn’t done anything wrong in his career. This is his first thing. He’s clearly mad. He’s bleeding all over the court. No one was hurt…I’m sure he will learn a lesson from this two-game suspension. Five seems excessive; that’s all I’m saying.”

JJ Redick

Ultimately, the Los Angeles Lakers will feel LeBron’s suspension more than the Pistons will feel Stewart’s. Aside from the apparent talent disparity, the Pistons don’t seem to be competing for the playoffs. In contrast, LeBron’s Lakers sit just 9-9 in a loaded Western Conference after entering the season with championship aspirations. They will look to Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis to keep them afloat as they take on the New York Knicks at Maddison Square Garden.

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