Lakers win with empty bench in bizarre finish

Chris Kaman chills out. Technically, there’s a guard at the end of the bench. (Mark Duncan / AP)

It wasn’t the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers so much as how they beat them.

In one of the oddest finishes in an NBA game in years, the Lakers ended a seven-game losing streak with only four eligible players over the final 3 minutes, 32 seconds. And, yes, it takes five to play hoops. Ideally.

Jordan Farmar and Chris Kaman have plenty of room for themselves. (Mark Duncan / AP)

The Lakers had only eight players to begin with because of injuries and the advanced age of some members of their roster. Steve Nash was active, but didn’t suit up because the Lakers were playing the second of back-to-back games. Then Nick Young hurt his knee, Chris Kaman fouled out and Jordan Farmar suffered a leg injury. Which was okay until…Robert Sacre fouled out. But, because an obscure but handy NBA rules prohibit teams with using four players, Sacre stayed in and the Lakers were assessed a technical. Nash was game to go, but Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t want to use him.

“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. “When the officials came over to explain the options to me, we decided to keep Robert out there. I knew he would be smart and not commit too many more fouls. . . . I didn’t know about that rule, but it’s a nice rule.”

It made for great art, although shots of the wide-open vistas of the Lakers’ bench are likely to leave Commissioner Adam Silver reaching for the Tylenol in his first week on the job.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.



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Cindy Boren · February 5, 2014

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