The Los Angeles Lakers avoided an eight-game skid after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday night, but with an ending that left many labeling it the most bizarre game of the season. Even players and coaches were left puzzled, as their depleted roster became the center of attention. Pau Gasol tweeted his bewilderment during the game saying:
I've never seen this situation before!! Did anybody know about this rule!? #LakersvsCavs
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) February 6, 2014
Unfortunately, the injury report contained a few more names this evening. Besides the usual suspects, Jodie Meeks was added with a sprained ankle and Jordan Hill with a possible concussion. Come game-time, Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni was left with just eight able-bodied players, and then things got worse. During the game, Nick Young went down with a twisted knee and Jordan Farmar came out with a cramp in his lower leg. Then, Chris Kaman fouled out and the Lakers were left with five players to finish the game.
At this point, most started to wonder what would happen if another player were to either foul out or go down with an injury. We were all about to find out. With four minutes left in the game, Robert Sacre had just notched his fifth foul. 30 seconds later, Sacre recorded his sixth foul, but there were no Lakers left on the bench to take his place. Instead, the Cavaliers were awarded a technical foul shot, and Sacre remained in the game. Now, if Sacre were to foul again, the foul would be marked as a team foul and the Cavaliers would have been granted another technical foul shot. But, Sacre was able to finish the game without committing what would have been his seventh foul.
The last time such an incident occurred was over four years ago when Golden State’s Devean George encountered the same situation on April 14th, 2010.
The exact NBA league rules and regulations are stated as follows:
“Each team shall consist of five players. No team may be reduced to less than five players. If a player in the game receives his sixth personal foul and all substitutes have already been disqualified, said player shall remain in the game and shall be charged with a personal and team foul. A technical foul also shall be assessed against his team. All subsequent personal fouls, including offensive fouls, shall be treated similarly. All players who have six or more personal fouls and remain in the game shall be treated similarly.”
What would have happened if one of the five available players were to get injured with no one on the bench to replace him? According to the official NBA league rules, the injured player would have been replaced by the last player to foul out. The rules and regulations go on to say:
“Each subsequent requirement to replace an injured or ejected player will be treated in this inverse order. Any such re-entry into a game by a disqualified player shall be penalized by a technical foul.”
Even Nash, who was listed as a scratch for the game, was asked to come out in uniform from the locker room to the bench. Kendall Marshall tweeted after the game:
swear I've never seen anything like this! ha welcome back @JrFarmar, hell of a game by @steveblake5 #TripleDubShawty.
— Kendall Marshall (@KButter5) February 6, 2014
That hash-tag is referring to Steve Blake picking up a triple double in his second game back from injury. Jordan Farmar scored 21 points in his debut and Ryan Kelly scored a career-high 26 points to clinch the win for the Lakers. Despite the bizarre ending, the Lakers managed to overcome the odds and garner a much-needed victory.
Chris Kaman Finally Getting Some Playing Time With Pau Gasol Out