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Lakers finish win over Cavaliers with just four active players

Feb 5, 2014, 10:24 PM EDT

Lakers bench AP

The Lakers were already shorthanded heading into Wednesday’s contest against the Cavaliers, but by the time it was over, they didn’t have a combination of qualified and healthy players to even field a five-man team.

L.A. led by as many as 29 points before holding on for the 119-108 victory, but things were a bit sketchy down the stretch.

The Lakers began the game with just eight active players, thanks to injuries suffered the previous night to both Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill that ruled them out for this one. Steve Nash was a scheduled scratch due to this being the second night of a back-to-back, along with the fact that he just returned on Tuesday from a prolonged, injury-forced absence.

Eight became seven once Nick Young suffered a knee injury and did not return for the second half. Seven became six after Chris Kaman fouled out with 8:29 remaining. Six became five after Jordan Farmar headed to the bench with what appeared to be a calf injury, though Mike D’Antoni said afterward that he simply cramped up and would be available for the team’s next game.

Now, here’s where things got interesting.

Steve Nash was technically active even though the Lakers had no plans to play him, so he was forced to dress and come back out and sit on the bench, presumably in case another injury took place. That turned out not to be necessary, even though Robert Sacre picked up his sixth personal foul with 3:32 to play, which should have meant a disqualification.

A rarely-needed rule, however, meant that Sacre could keep playing, with a technical foul as the price. As detailed in the NBA’s official rule book:

“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 been disqualified, said player shall remain in the game and shall be charged with a personal and team foul. A technical foul shall also 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.”

Had someone else been injured or ejected, Nash still wouldn’t have been forced into action. Another rule states that if that were to happen, the last player to be disqualified for picking up six personal fouls would be allowed to return, and the team would be assessed a technical foul in that instance.

This is the state of the Lakers these days, such that we must scour the rule book to see what happens when two-thirds of the team becomes unavailable due to injury.

  1. jimthebuilder27 - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    Wow, a Lakers team that was scrapping to simply get by with players beat a Cav team that was healthy?

    If that’s not an indictment on why Mike Brown needs to be fired, I don’t know what else is!

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      On the bright side, Anthony Bennett had 14 points and 8 rebounds.

      If there’s such a thing as a bright side when your completely healthy team loses by double digits to a team with only four players.

      • lakerskc - Feb 6, 2014 at 4:19 PM

        For a little added salt to the wound, don’t forget that the Lakers also broke a franchise record with 18 three point shots in the game.

  2. Kevin S. - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    And this is the state of the Cavs these days, losing by double-digits at home to a team down two-thirds of its players due to injury.

  3. gary2525 - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    There is no way to explain it the cavs just STINK.

  4. blantoncollier - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Cavs make the browns look like a decent organization. Mike Brown is a nice guy but the wrong coach for this team, he should fired tomorrow. And Chris Grant should leave with him.

  5. Spencer - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Let’s keep in mind that Anthony Bennett was on the court so realistically even if the Lakers dropped to 4 players, it would’ve been a fair game.

  6. wiseliver - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    I just wanted to commend Coach Brown for another magnificently coached game. It’s not just his coaching abilities that I have grown to know and love but it’s also the way he motivates his players. Just because the other team had trouble finding 5 healthy bodies to put out there on the floor, Coach Brown never let it bother him or his players. He is a leader and I think it’s safe to say that his players have shown that individually and collectively they would crawl through fire for him. But what I am most thankful for is finally we have a coach that gets his team to play defense. The banged up Lakers were held to only 70 points in the first half and were completely unable to reach the 120 point mark. That, my friends, is coaching at its very finest, and my goodness, not one person in the whole world can realize how very proud I really am.

  7. seattlesuperchronic - Feb 5, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    I bet LeBron is just clamoring to go back to Cleveland.

  8. chiadam - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    List of reasons why it’s OK to lose at home to a bad team that ran out of players:

    • theromeo2k - Feb 6, 2014 at 4:36 AM

      None. Oops that’s a reason.

  9. phillyfan11 - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    Wow, this just shows how bad the Cavs are.

  10. jamesk2465 - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    One of the most funniest/sad games I’ve ever seen

    • theromeo2k - Feb 6, 2014 at 4:39 AM

      Indeed. I haven’t laughed so hard while watching a game since Shaqtin’ A Fool when Javale Mcgee went running down the other end of the court while still on offense. LOL

  11. 00maltliquor - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    Just amazing

  12. phx1311 - Feb 5, 2014 at 11:59 PM

    I always wondered how that worked and now i finally know. Thank u lakers for the constant entertainment.

  13. bballhistorian - Feb 6, 2014 at 12:03 AM


  14. Professor Fate - Feb 6, 2014 at 12:11 AM

    Lakers’ trainer Gary Vitti is either wishing he retired at the end of last season or preparing to ask management for a large raise. Or both.

    Steve Blake’s performance was pretty amazing for a guy everyone thinks sucks.

    • davidly - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:12 AM

      Blake never sucked. “Sports fans” can just be downright idiotic.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      Mamba Vino messed around and got a triple double

  15. cbking05 - Feb 6, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    This is all Andrew Bynum’s doing…

  16. shuttaman1990 - Feb 6, 2014 at 12:46 AM


    lakers all day

  17. Craig W. - Feb 6, 2014 at 1:08 AM

    Actually the Lakers are a pretty good offensive team – they can really score points. Their main problem is they can’t defend. In this game they at least really tried to defend, against a pretty bad club. It’s just that, with 5 players not used to heavy minutes having to play the last 5 minutes of the game with absolutely no bodies on the bench to help, everyone got pretty tired. Thank goodness for Steve Blake.

  18. 91devinhester23 - Feb 6, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    Poor deng

  19. janessa31888 - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    I detest Chris Grant. Please fire him the second the season ends. Why in the world did they think re hiring Mike Brown was a good idea? What an embarrassment. At least the Browns try to win. This team quit and gave up.

  20. knoxxlive - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    That’s it i wana leave the Cavs somebody get me a trade, I can’t take this anymore

  21. rainmaker1982 - Feb 6, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    Is this the first time in sports history where a NBA coach was fired, only to re-hired a few years later?

    I’d be embarrassed as the owner of the Cavs.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 6, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      I’m not sure about the NBA off the top of my head, but I’m pretty sure Billy Martin was the manager of the Yankees at least 15 separate times.

  22. ranfan12 - Feb 6, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Best laker game this season

  23. Gigantor - Feb 6, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    Not unprecedented. It happened to the Warriors twice on the same season. Warriors made history.

  24. dougmanoh - Feb 6, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    The rules are weak and really need to be made more harsh for the DQ’d player. He should have to take off his shoes and play in his socks, for example. Or no team member may look directly at him during the game. Or make the coach come in. New commish, make it happen!!!!

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