CLEVELAND -- Chris Kaman turned the empty row of seats into a personal daybed, stretching out as if he'd fainted. Steve Nash rapidly changed out of his street clothes and into a purple uniform no one planned for him to use. And Robert Sacre earned the rare distinction of remaining in a game despite fouling out.
Just another day with the Los Angeles Lakers? Nope, Wednesday in Cleveland is in a class of its own after the Lakers, cursed by injury and foul trouble, started the game with just eight players and by the end of the night had just four who were eligible.
"That," Lakers guard Steve Blake said, "is something I've never seen happen."
Behind Blake's second career triple-double, the Lakers snapped a seven-game losing streak, beating the Cavaliers, 119-108, but not before referees had to invoke a rule most of the Lakers didn't know existed.
In the first half, the Lakers lost Nick Young to a knee injury, and in the fourth Jordan Farmar was dealing with cramps in his legs and Kaman had fouled out. By the time Sacre picked up his sixth foul with 3:31 left in the fourth quarter, the Lakers had no players available on the bench.
By virtue of a rarely needed NBA rule, Sacre was allowed to remain in the game, but each of his subsequent fouls resulted in a technical foul.
It proved only fascinating instead of heartbreaking thanks to Blake.
The veteran guard finished with 11 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in just his second game since Dec. 13 when he tore a ligament in his right elbow. The injury limited his ability to shoot 3-pointers until he made two in the final three minutes to hold off the Cavaliers.
"I knew that my 3 ball doesn't feel the way it normally does," Blake said, "but I got to take advantage of those opportunities when they come and I was fortunate enough to make them."
A game the Lakers led by 29 points turned from bizarre to absurd after the Lakers lost Young to a knee injury at halftime.
Cavaliers forward C.J. Miles delivered a hard foul as Young attempted a fast-break layup with 2:16 left in the second quarter.
Young stayed in the game for the rest of the half, and his night ended with 6 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes. Young will undergo an MRI on Thursday in Philadelphia to determine the severity of the injury.
"I just felt like I couldn't move on it," Young said, "and it's tough."
Add Young to a growing injury list that on Tuesday included Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill. Hill, who sat out because of neck pain, is expected to play Friday in Philadelphia, while Meeks is out until at least Sunday because of a sprained right ankle.
Farmar had 21 points and 8 assists in his first game back from a torn left hamstring, but sat out the final 4:56 because of cramps and said he probably overextended himself by playing 34 minutes.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wednesday was the first time the foul-out, stay-in rule had been invoked since April 14, 2010, when Devean George remained in the game for Golden State.
Coincidentally, that same night Blake recorded his only other career triple-double, which came as a member of the Clippers against the Lakers.
The Lakers play Friday in Philadelphia before returning home for three games at Staples Center before the All-Star break. Despite the upswing of Wednesday's win, things are as uncertain as ever.
"I have no idea how many guys we have right now," Sacre said, "but we're going to fight."
The Lakers made 18 three-pointers, one off the franchise record. ... Rookie Ryan Kelly scored a career-high 26 points. ... The Lakers shot 62.5 percent from the field in the first half, and 53.2 percent overall.
(c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Visit The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) at www.ocregister.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services