Pistons-Suns pregame altercation: Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart ‘sucker punched’ Suns’ Drew Eubanks in face

Tempers reportedly flared in the leadup to a Valentine’s Day game between the Pistons and the Suns.

Ahead of Wednesday’s game, Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart punched Suns forward Drew Eubanks in the face in the back tunnels of Phoenix’s Footprint Center, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported.

News of the altercation surfaced within 90 minutes of the game’s scheduled tip time, but it’s unclear exactly what time the incident occurred.

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Police got involved to separate the players, per Charania’s report. The NBA is expected to review footage of the incident.

Stewart has not played since Jan. 28 due to an ankle injury and will be inactive again Wednesday night. Eubanks saw five minutes in Phoenix’s last outing and continued with his pregame routine following the incident, per multiple reports.

Before the game, Suns beat reporters caught up with Eubanks, who gave his account of what transpired with Stewart.

“Words were said, I got sucker punched, and security intervened,” Eubanks said, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. Eubanks added that he had just arrived at the arena and was still in street clothes at the time of the incident.

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When asked about a potential motive, Eubanks said the two had no issues outside of “just basketball s—.” Eubanks did add that “Clearly you can see what he does, how he acts on the court, so it wasn’t surprising,” likely alluding to Stewart’s run-ins with LeBron James and Charlotte’s Brandon Miller.

Aware of Stewart’s inactive status, Eubanks maintained that he would be fine to play on Wednesday, telling reporters, “Nah, I’m straight. Soft punch.” Because of Stewart’s injury, a potential suspension could not be levied until he is again in Detroit’s active lineup.

“The attack on Drew Eubanks was unprovoked, and acts of violence such as this are unacceptable,” a Suns spokesperson told The Athletic. “We unequivocally support Drew, and will continue to work with local law enforcement and the NBA.”

After the game, Suns star Kevin Durant stood by Eubanks, PHNX Sports’ Gerald Bourguet reported.

“There’s a lot of noise around our game, there’s a lot of s— that comes with being an NBA player. … Unfortunate what happened before the game,” he said. “We’re supposed to be a brotherhood. … We all support Drew and got Drew’s back.”

Pistons head coach Monty Williams called the Suns “irresponsible” for calling Stewart’s actions unprovoked.

“Until you find out everything, you can’t make those statements,” Williams said, per Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press. “I heard about that, and that did not need to happen.”

Discipline for involved parties could come down following the league’s review.

This is a developing story and more updates will be provided as they are made available.


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