The short-manned Los Angeles Lakers benefited from a little-used National Basketball Association rule en route to a 119-108 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Dressing only eight players last night because of injuries as they tried to break a seven-game losing streak, the Lakers lost Nick Young to a twisted left knee in the second quarter of the game at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Guard Jordan Farmar left with an injured leg early into the fourth quarter and center Chris Kaman then fouled out, leaving five players available.
With 3 minutes, 31 seconds remaining, Lakers center Robert Sacre committed his sixth foul, against Cleveland’s C.J. Miles, and thought his night was done. NBA rules, however, mandate that if a player receives his sixth personal foul and all substitutes already have been disqualified, that player must remain in the game and be charged a technical foul, as well as receiving additional technicals each time he commits another foul.
“When I got my sixth foul, I was like, ‘Oh, dang!’ Sacre said after the game, according to the Associated Press. ‘‘Then I got to come back in, so I thought it was something special. I didn’t know what was going on.’’
Neither did Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni.
‘‘I didn’t know about that rule, but it’s a nice rule,” D’Antoni said, according to AP.
Lakers guard Steve Nash, who returned from injury the previous night, was scheduled to rest and was in street clothes. After Nash put his uniform on late in the game, D’Antoni declined to consider him as an option.
“I was not going to go to Nash -- it was not an option to us -- but the other thing we talked about was having Jordan go out there and just stand in the corner,” D’Antoni said, according to AP. “When the officials came over to explain the options to me, we decided to keep Robert out there.”
The rule has been used before, such as in April 2010 in a game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors, when Don Nelson was forced to use players who had suited up but didn’t play because they were deemed unfit because of injuries during warmups. Each played brief stints before Devean George, who had fouled out, re-entered the game and drew a technical foul.
Last night, Ryan Kelly scored 26 and Steve Blake had a triple-double, with 11 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds as the Lakers held on to improve to 17-32. Cleveland fell to 16-33 with the loss.
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