Sometimes, weird things happen in the NBA. This season, we are seeing un unprecedented shut down amid Coronavirus pandemic concerns, but there have bee plenty of weird, wacky, and downright head-scratching moments over the course of NBA History.
Take this 1978 game between the Nets and Sixers, for example.
In this game, NBA guard Eric Money played, and scored, for both teams in the same game. The explanation is a bit of a tale, but it’s worth the time. It all started with a couple of technicals that spiraled out of control.
King drove hard to the basket, there was contact with Mix, and King was whistled for an offensive foul. Enraged, King screamed at referee Roger McCann, ignoring the fact that he already had a technical. Now he had two and an automatic ejection. King kept screaming and gesturing and then punted a courtside chair on his way to the locker room. Watching this unfold, and reaching for his whistle, was the other referee, Richie Powers.
Powers called a technical on King, giving him three for the game and one over the limit. Nets coach Kevin Loughery jumped from the bench and raced onto the floor. He got three technicals from Powers, too, which was illegal.
“That call on Bernard set everything in motion, then Kevin went ballistic and next thing I know, the game was out of control with all the technicals,” said Catchings.
The whole situation led to a re-do of the final quarter-and-a-half of that game, which would be played on March 23rd — on top of another game that was already scheduled between them.
The Nets protested and the league office wasn’t thrilled with Powers for his avalanche of technicals. Commissioner Larry O’Brien suspended Powers for five games for “failure to comply with league procedure.” O’Brien also ordered the game to be replayed starting at the 5:50 mark of the third quarter, when the technicals flew. Given the demands of the schedule, the replay couldn’t happen until March 23, when the teams had a previously-scheduled game in Philly. Therefore, it would be a double-header: The makeup game first, followed by the scheduled game. Both teams agreed.
This is where Eric Money comes in. Before the doubleheader that night, the teams had agreed to a trade involving Catchings, Simpson and cash from the Sixers to the Nets for Money and Skinner.
And, so, all the players traded were allowed to play in the makeup game, but for their new teams. Money was the only guy to score in the makeup game and was credited with 23 total points. With four of the points being for his new team, the Sixers, it means he scored for both teams in the same game (19 for the Nets). The Sixers ended up winning with a final score of 123-117.
On the afternoon of March 23, the game clock at tipoff read 5:50 instead of 12:00, and it was the third quarter instead of the first, and the Sixers were up 84-81. Catchings, Money and Simpson played for the other team this time while Skinner rode the bench for the Sixers just as he rode the bench for the Nets in the previous game.
“The strangest situation I’ve ever been in,” said Simpson. “I was laughing about it, Julius (Erving) was laughing. It was sort of funny for everybody.”
No doubt, that has to be one of the weirdest situations in NBA History and is unlikely to ever happen again.
Think about it — for that to have been possible, both teams must have been granted a re-match of the second half of the first game, both teams must have engaged in a player swap with each other, and at least one of the swapped players must have scored in both the original game for his old team and the re-matched second-half game later for his new team.
That’s something extraordinary, even if it wasn’t intentional.