Deron Williams picked up his second foul in the first quarter against the Hawks, and he went to the bench.
But his coach, Lionel Hollins, was smart enough to realize removing a point guard who averages 2.7 fouls per 36 minutes would only punish Brooklyn.
So, Williams was subbing himself out without anyone else replacing him.
Atlanta made a free throw, and the Nets inbounded the ball before officials realized what was happening.
NBA rules require five players on the floor. There’s no “My team is on the floor” at this level.
The rules also state:
In the event that a player leaves the playing court while the ball is in play, play will continue until the next stoppage of play and the player will be replaced if he is not ready to return. No technical foul will be assessed, but the incident will be reviewed by the league office for a possible fine and/or suspension.
The refs probably erred by stopping play to allow the Nets a fifth player. That should have happened once a natural stoppage occurred.
It seems unwarranted to fine or suspend anyone for this honest mistake. I suppose Brooklyn broke the rule for having five players, but a fine or suspension? I’d be shocked if it happened, but it’s unclear what the league is looking for here.
The Nets lost, 131-99, but at least they had five players on the court the rest of the game.
(hat tip: Matt Moore of CBSSports.com)