Drew Eubanks ‘sucker-punched’ by Isaiah Stewart prior to Suns vs. Pistons

Feb 14, 2024, 6:29 PM | Updated: Feb 15, 2024, 8:57 am

Drew Eubanks #14 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a three-point shot during the NBA game at Footprint ...

Drew Eubanks #14 of the Phoenix Suns reacts to a three-point shot during the NBA game at Footprint Center on November 15, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Timberwolves 133-115. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Suns center Drew Eubanks said he was “sucker-punched” by Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart prior to Wednesday’s game at Footprint Center.

Eubanks was arriving to the arena in the parking lot both teams use to enter the arena when the altercation occurred.

“Basically we were walking in, words were said and we got face-to-face, and then (Stewart) just sucker-punched me,” Eubanks said in the locker room pregame.

Less than a half-hour before Eubanks spoke during the pregame locker room availability both teams hold, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the incident.

In a release, Phoenix Police said Stewart was arrested for assault and later released. Police are keeping the investigation open.

Stewart is known as an agitator and physical player on the floor, something Eubanks alluded to.

“You can see what he does, how he acts on the court,” Eubanks said.

Eubanks said there was nothing personal between he and Stewart that would lead him to believe something like that was coming. He noted he will be fine to play on Wednesday, calling it a “soft punch.”

The Suns released a statement prior to tip-off.

β€œThe attack on Drew Eubanks was unprovoked, and acts of violence such as this are unacceptable,” the statement said. “We unequivocally support Drew, and will continue to work with local law enforcement and the NBA.”

Pistons head coach Monty Williams shot back, saying it was “irresponsible” to use the word “unprovoked” in the statement.

Stewart was ruled out on the afternoon’s injury report due to a sprained left ankle.

Stewart has a history of on-court altercations

Earlier this season, Stewart was ejected on Dec. 13 for shoving guard Patrick Beverley to the ground. At the time, Beverley was playing for the 76ers and appeared to elbow Stewart in the stomach. Stewart then retaliated by knocking Beverley to the ground and the Pistons’ center received a flagrant 2.

Stewart was also suspended two games during the 2021-22 season after charging at LeBron James after an on-court altercation. James’ elbow connected with Stewart and bloodied the big man’s face, which caused him to later run after James before being restrained by teammates.

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