The Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night went into their match against the Cleveland Cavaliers with just eight players available. They then went on to lose two more players during the game through injury and one more after being fouled out. And, at the end of the night, they emerged from Cleveland 119-108 winners. Talk about a crazy game!
And it was thanks to a little-known NBA rule that most of the Lakers coaching staff and players didn’t even know existed.
Lakers centre Robert Sacre fouled out in the 4th quarter, but despite that coach Mike D’Antoni decided to keep him on the court as he did what was best for his team. Nick Young ended up twisting his knee in first half play, Chris Kaman fouled out even before Sacre in the 4th quarter and Jordan Farmar had to leave the court a little later with cramps in his leg. So with three players of the original eight out of the picture, it was up to the ones on the court to pull through till the end leaving the Lakers desperately short.
That’s when Sacre picked up his 6th foul with 3:32 remaining and was forced to stay on the court despite that, as each team has to have five players on the court at all times as per NBA rules. There was a technical foul on the Lakers for this allowance and D’Antoni was informed that any further fouls on Sacre would also result in technicals.
”That was, by far, one of the strangest games I’ve ever seen,” D’Antoni said, as the Lakers picked up their first win in two weeks.
”I didn’t know about that rule, but it’s a nice rule,” D’Antoni said with a chuckle.
At one point the situation was so bad that Steve Nash, who was in street clothes and totally not fit to play, was sent to the locker room to go put on an uniform.
As far as the game was concerned, Farmar had 21 points and the Lakers got another 20 from Wesley Johnson. Steve Blake had a stellar game, securing a triple-double with 11 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds.
Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, who has been chosen as a starter for the East All Stars at the All Star Game next weekend, said: ”They definitely deserved to be on the floor,that second group did a heck of a job. You have to give a whole bunch of credit to them. If I were the coach, I would have played that second group as long as he did.”
Cleveland coach Mike Brown said: ”Maybe we can learn something from what that group did on the floor, they played the right way.”