Blazers shooting guard C.J. McCollum, who is scoring 21 points per game and having a fine year all around, was not on the active roster for last night’s game against the Clippers. McCollum wasn’t in street clothes because he was hurt or serving a suspension, but because his coach screwed up the lineup card.
At every NBA game, the head coach must submit a lineup card listing his active and inactive players one hour before tip-off, and no changes can be made once that sheet is turned in. Blazers coach Terry Stotts accidentally listed McCollum as an inactive player instead of Luis Montero, and that was that.
The Blazers did realize their mistake before tip-off, and tried to go about correcting the error before the game started. There is apparently a protocol for re-submitting a corrected lineup card, but the Clippers coaching staff, either knowingly or unknowingly, short-circuited that whole process:
The Oregonian reported that Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was given the option to allow McCollum to play by the league office, but declined that option. After the game, he didn’t have a whole lot to say:
“We were trying to figure out what the heck,” Rivers said. “We knew you couldn’t change the rule, because it happened to us. But it’s not on us to do that. That’s all on them.”
So was Doc just innocently trying to figure out what was going on, or was this a bit of gamesmanship? I think this clip gives us a pretty definitive answer: