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Isaiah Stewart Punches Suns Opponent In Parking Lot Hours Before Grotesque Pistons Loss

Isaiah Stewart of the Pistons dribbles the basketball
Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

Detroit Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart, nicknamed "Beef Stew," has been known to beef and stew on the court. On Wednesday, he got his beef in before tipoff.

Stewart reportedly punched Phoenix Suns big man Drew Eubanks in the arena parking lot before the game, before the two were separated by security. Phoenix police told The Athletic that the Pistons player "was arrested for assault, issued a citation and released." Stewart had been already ruled out of the game with a sprained ankle; Eubanks had a productive outing with six points, six rebounds, two steals, and one block in the Suns' 116-100 victory.

But why read about this incident from me when you can get it from The Athletic's Shams Charania, who combines the mandate of a sportswriter with the stylings of a police report? Consider the sublime sequence of words Charania arranged on Twitter to break the news: "Both Stewart and Eubanks were going chest-to-chest before a swing to Eubanks' face connected on Wednesday, sources said." An earlier version of Charania's accompanying article in The Athletic specified that the fight took place in the "back tunnels" of the stadium and that Stewart's swing was directed at "Eubanks' lip area," but those details have been adjusted to "parking lot" and "face," respectively. Eubanks's lip area looked unremarkable during the game.

Charania wrote that the NBA will receive and review footage of the incident, citing a league source. “The attack on Drew Eubanks was unprovoked, and acts of violence such as this are unacceptable,” the Suns said in a statement. “We unequivocally support Drew, and will continue to work with local law enforcement and the NBA.”

Pistons head coach Monty Williams said it was "irresponsible" of the Suns to say Stewart's punch was unprovoked, and said the league needed to gather more information. On Wednesday, the Suns spotted the Pistons two of their stars: Bradley Beal was out with a hamstring injury, and Devin Booker was ejected halfway through the first quarter after jawing at officials. The game was even tied at 23 with 3:23 to go in the first quarter, but then Williams decided to experiment with an all-bench unit, despite the empirically verifiable presence of Kevin Durant on the floor for the Suns; Detroit lost the remainder of the quarter 14-2, and the game was a rout the rest of the way. The Pistons shot 38-of-99 from the floor, including 10-of-37 from three. Evan Fournier, acquired at the trade deadline after years of exile from the Knicks, carried a 26-minute load; he hasn't played this much since October 2022. Remarkably, Pistons big man James Wiseman appeared in just 12 minutes and still registered a minus-28. Here's a peek at the late-game action:

After a momentous two-game win streak in early February, the Pistons have lost their last three in a row to settle down to a league-worst 8-46.

The most distinctive image of Stewart's NBA career has been his beef in November 2021. A wild LeBron James elbow swing bloodied Stewart's face and prompted him to go after the Lakers star, first calming down as a temporary ruse then wriggling through a thicket of teammates, staffers, and officials to charge at James again. Stewart was suspended two games for that incident, and James for one.

According to a 2021 profile in The Athletic, boxing was Stewart's first love in sports.

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