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Shaq defends Isaiah Stewart: "Somebody hit you in the face, you're supposed to react like that"

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Lately, there has been no hotter topic of discussion in the NBA world than the skirmish that broke out the other night in a game between the Lakers and the Pistons. LeBron James got tangled up with the young Pistons center, Isaiah Stewart, inadvertently punching him in the face and making him bleed exponentially.

Stewart didn't appreciate that, as things got out of control with the Pistons center chasing LeBron around the arena and knocking down everybody in his way. That led to a one-game suspension for LeBron, a two-game suspension for Stewart, and numerous fines, as the image of a fully-bloodied Stewart went around the world, causing innumerable reactions.

Inside the NBA crew reacts, Shaq defends Stewart

Well, during tonight's TNT double-header, we finally got one of the more anticipated reactions, as the panel of Inside the NBA crew shared their thoughts on the incident. Unfortunately, Charles Barkley was not there, but we still got some interesting points from Shaq, Reggie Miller, Kenny Smith, and Jamal Crawford.

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Reggie knows a thing or two about NBA fights, as he was present during "The Malace at the Palace," while Shaq himself has been in numerous scraps during his career, so who better to ask about this situation. The big fella agrees LeBron isn't a dirty player, but that hit required Stewart to react, as Shaq sees nothing wrong there:

"When you going strength against strength, and you're stronger sometimes you gotta put that extra uh! Guy got hit in the face. Now Stewart reacted like he was supposed to react. Somebody hit you in the face; you're supposed to react like that. You gotta hit them back or act like you wanna hit them back. It's only two options."

Shaquille O'Neal, ">Inside the NBA

Kenny and Ernie disagreed with Shaq on Stewart's reaction being justified, as he really did cause mayhem. Kenny simply couldn't comprehend why he reacted so late, instead of going at LeBron right away, while Reggie pointed out it was the taste of blood that boiled Stewart's emotions and made him rage. 

All in all, some pretty interesting reactions and views from NBA greats and veterans, as the James-Stewart brawl continues to make headlines even days later. I guess that's what happens when you try to fight the face of the NBA.

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