LeBron James was ejected early in the third quarter after drawing blood by hitting Isaiah Stewart in the face, leaving Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook to rally the Los Angeles Lakers to a 121-116 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.
Davis had 30 points, 10 rebounds and two big blocked shots late on Pistons 20-year-old rookie Cade Cunningham. Westbrook contributed 26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, had 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to become the youngest player in franchise history with a triple-double.
James was sent to the locker room after his left elbow and hand appeared to make contact with Stewart’s face when they were tangled up while boxing out for a rebound. Detroit’s center had to be held back more than once, keeping him separated from the NBA superstar, and he was also ejected.
Westbrook was assessed a technical after the officials reviewed the play and the fallout from it.
All parties were relieved that an all-out melee wasn’t witnessed as it was on Nov. 19, 2004, when the Pistons and Indiana Pacers had a brawl that spilled into the stands.
After calm was restored on Sunday night, Detroit closed the third quarter strong and led 99-84 entering the fourth.
Westbrook and Davis both scored in double figures in the final quarter, leading a rally that gave the Lakers a win to reach .500 this season.
Detroit had the ball with 5.9 seconds left with the chance to potentially tie the game, but Hamidou Diallo turned the ball over and Davis made free throws to seal the victory.
James had 10 points and five assists in his second game back in the lineup. After missing eight games with an abdominal strain, he played Friday night in a 130-108 loss at Boston.
Lakers: Carmelo Anthony scored 18 points. … Dwight Howard had 13 points, making a career-high two 3-pointers.
Pistons: Diallo had 17 points and Frank Jackson had 15 points.