For once, Mike D’Anoni’s quest for small ball didn’t keep Chris Kaman on the bench.
His early foul trouble did the trick. But with the Lakers appearing to coast to a double-digit win Wednesday over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kaman took advantage of the team’s injury-plagued roster by literally taking all of their seats.
“I had my shoes untied. I was laying down on the bench because we had a really long bench,” Kaman said. “There was 30 feet of extra space that I laid down.”
But Kaman couldn’t get too comfortable.
Lakers center Robert Sacre also fell into foul trouble, while Jordan Farmar experienced cramps in his calf muscles. Suddenly, the man who can never seem to find time in D’Antoni’s rotation had to enter the game.
The Lakers’ 119-108 win Wednesday over Cleveland wasn’t easy, though. After entering the game with 9:19 left in the fourth quarter, Kaman fouled out nearly a minute later.
“I thought the refs, it was hard to gauge what they were trying to do,” Kaman said. “It’s hard to gauge if they want to let it go real physical some nights. Sometimes they’ll let anything go by and they’ll call everything. I felt like myself and Rob [Sacre], there were some fouls that were tough to swallow. I was trying to jump straight up purposefully not to foul. I was trying to get out of the way almost. But they still called them.”
Sacre wasn’t penalized for his fouls, though. He picked up his sixth foul with 3:32 remaining. But per NBA rules, Sacre still stayed on the floor because the Lakers didn’t have any other healthy players. The only downside, the Lakers would receive a technical foul for any time Sacre fouls again.
“It doesn’t make sense to me,” Kaman said. “Anytime a superstar fouls out, you can take the tech and say everybody else is hurt. We want to keep him in. It is a loophole. There’s a lot of loopholes. That’s how it works.”
Lakers guard Steve Nash tried warming up, but he wasn’t on the active roster since the Lakers are sitting him on the second night of back-to-backs to preserve his body. Farmar had been icing for precautionary measures to ensure his previously injured left hamstring didn’t flare up again.
“I thought Farmar was iced down because he got to his minute number,” Kaman said. “I thought he’d come back in and be a decoy. I didn’t you know you could attack and keep a guy in.”
But NBA teams can, providing a reminder that perhaps it’s best next time that Kaman keeps his shoelaces tied.
“That’s the beauty of shoe laces,” Kaman said. “They can untie and tie really easy.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org