The 119-108 win for the Los Angeles Lakers over the Cleveland Cavaliers might teach us that there are teams in worse situations despite not having the same amount of injuries, but the healthy list is getting shorter and shorter for a team that went into the game with only 8 healthy players and finished with only 4 being eligible as Robert Sacre played after fouling out.
When the game was over, the Lakers lost one more player, with Nick Young leaving the game to leave his team with only 7 healthy players. Chris Kaman fouled out, Jordan Farmar left the game with cramps so Sacre fouled out and was still playing.
How did the Cavs lose this? Mike Brown showed another sign of just how bad things are by leaving his entire starting lineup except for Anderson Varejao on the bench for the fourth quarter, which actually put Cleveland back in the game after falling behind by 29 points. The reserves went back to a six point deficit (108-114) with less than two minutes to go, but Steve Blake hit a three pointer that ended their daydreaming.
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. Maybe we can learn something from what that group did on the floor. They played the right way.
It’s hard to describe what was going on for the Lakers better than this picture:
The Lakers were playing without Steve Nash (rest), Jodie Meeks (sprained ankle) and Jordan Hill(strained neck). Pau Gasol (groin) and Kobe Bryant (knee) remained in Los Angeles for the three-game trip. Now Nick Young might be out as well with a twisted knee. The Lakers might have somehow gotten through Cleveland who are a team shattered to pieces professionally, socially and mentally, but it’s hard to believe that the remaining Lakers can do much on the power of teamwork and sheer willpower alone.
That was, by far, one of the strangest games I’ve ever seen. That was just crazy. When I got my sixth foul, I was just like, ‘Oh, dang!’ Then I got to come back in, so I thought it was something special. I didn’t know what was going on.
The rule states that in order to have five players on the floor, the Lakers were able to play with Sacre despite his six fouls, and that each additional foul he was called for would also come with a technical call as well.
Steve Blake had a huge game with a triple double of 11 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists. Ryan Kelly led the team with 26 points while Wesley Johnson probably had his best game as a Laker with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Chris Kaman scored 13 points coming off the bench in only 14 minutes, but managed to pick up six fouls in a very short time. Kendall Marshall did a good job with 12 points and 7 assists as well, as D’Antoni should think about giving him more minutes again despite Steve Nash becoming available.
Things were so weird in the final minutes that Nash left his court-side seat and went to the locker room, changing into game uniform just so the Lakers will have the option of letting him play and putting five men on the court if anything else went wrong.
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. 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.