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Lakers Get Down to Just Four Eligible Players Against Cavs, Forcing Refs to Enact Arcane NBA Rule (Video)
You probably didn’t know this, but the NBA has a rule about what to do when you have no more players on the bench and somebody fouls out of the game. It’s Rule 3, Section 1 of the official rulebook. “No team may be reduced to less than five players,” it explains. “If a player in the game receives his sixth personal foul and all substitues have already been disqualified, said player shall remain in the game and shall be charged with a personal and team foul. A technical foul shall be assessed against his team.”
Obviously, it takes an unlikely chain of events just to get an NBA team to the point where they have zero players on the bench, and then somebody has to foul out. So the reason you’ve never heard of this rule is that this rarely happens. And by “rarely” I actually mean never. Until last night. When it happened to the Lakers.
Los Angeles had an extremely short bench heading into last night’s game in Cleveland. Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash were all out because of injuries, which left only three guys on the bench. Then point guard Jordan Farmer and small forward Nick Young left the game with injuries, leaving only Chris Kaman on the bench. And then he fouled out with 8:29 left in the fourth quarter…and decided to take a nap on the empty bench. (See above.)
So now the Lakers had just five players with only eight minutes to go, and they actually managed pretty well for five of those minutes. But with three and a half minutes left on the clock, Robert Sacre got called for his sixth personal foul. And at that point the referees had to invoke Rule 3, Section 1.
Pretty insane, right? Well just wait, it gets better. The shorthanded Lakers actually won the damn game, 119-108.
Way to go, Cavaliers.
Hat Tip – [Sporting News]