Scola’s streak of consecutive appearances ends at 277

Thursday’s NBA game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse was rather unusual for one Pacers (17-31) player. Luis Scola, specifically. He dressed, warmed up, but did not check in to the team’s 103-82 beatdown of the New York Knicks (9-38).

It’s not, however, like he was blindsided by the move.

Luis Scola didn’t take off his shooting shirt for the first time in 278 regular-season games.

On Wednesday at practice, head coach Frank Vogel talked with Scola, 34, the oldest player on roster (he’s got David West by four months), to inform him of the decision.

“I tried to convince him,” Scola said postgame, “but he had argument and felt like it was the right thing. It’s his call at the end of the day.”

Scola is averaging 9.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in over 20 minutes per game this season as the Pacers’ backup power forward.

Let’s examine the numbers before we go back inside the locker room.

1387: Days since Luis Scola’s last ‘DNP’.

277: Consecutive regular-season games played.

9: Games he missed in eight NBA seasons (keep in mind, he gets a lot of offseason work in with the Argentinian National Team).

6: Seasons during his eight-year career that he’s played in every game. Scola missed eights games during the 2010-11 season due to a knee injury.

2: His former rank league-wide of consecutive games played (trailing only Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan’s 286-game streak).

[Also from Thursday: Lavoy Allen ruled out for second half of Knicks game due to sore right knee]

Come back inside the Pacers’ locker room with me, to Luis Scola’s stall on the left side of the room, next to Damjan Rudež.

So, what was the game like for you, Luis?

“Boring,” he replied. “Very unusual.”

Any specific nagging injury you’re dealing with?

“No. No.”

Just old age?

“No, I think he wanted to rest me. That’s it.”

Did you feel like you needed rest?

“It doesn’t matter. He wanted to do that and that’s fine.”

Are you big into streaks and records? That was 277 straight games for you…

“I’m not hurt. That’s fine. It doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t change a lot. I’ve played a lot of games and what I want is to play the most positive games. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the row or not.”

My takeaway from our conversation was that as a fierce competitor and a veteran that is used to playing, this was hard on him. To his credit, he answered every question and did not cut out postgame like some players do.

“We don’t want to be concerned about any long-term streak or anything like that,” Vogel said afterwards.

“… He hadn’t played some significant minutes in a while, so I chose this game to rest Luis. I also thought that Luis could benefit from a night off and sort of recharge the batteries and come back and get ready to play — you know, we might do it for two games now that Lavoy is hurt, we’ll see. We’ll play it by ear.”

Scola added that coach mentioned two games, so it’s very likely that he’ll rest on Saturday against the Sacramento Kings (16-28).

One other note I looked into was whether this affected his contract.

From Tim Donahue, who does great work over at

Originally, the salary ($11.0 million) for the final year on his deal (2014-15) was completely non-guaranteed. However, the deal said that the season could become partially or completely guaranteed if he met certain criteria over the first four years of the deal. It would have become fully guaranteed, had he been voted as a starter to the All-Star game. Other than that, he could get $500,000 guaranteed each year that he played 85% of his teams games and made the playoffs, and another $500,000 each year he either played in all 82 of his team games or played in 85% of his team’s games and the team went at least .500.

Scola confirmed to me postgame that his check will not be impacted.

“It doesn’t matter anymore,” he said. “It did in the years before. Not anymore.”

Thank goodness the last year of his deal was guaranteed. You’d hate for anyone to lose that kind of money just to be rested.

The last time Scola missed a game was back on April 13, 2011 when he was part of the Houston Rockets organization. He had a bit of bad luck and hyperextended his knee, which caused him to sit out five games, and then the final three games of the season.

“When I got hurt, I started seeing different doctors because I was struggling a little bit coming back and it helped,” Scola told me last season after being the only Indiana player to play in all 82 regular-season games. “I found a doctor I really liked and I started doing a diet that really helped me.”

The diet he has strictly followed ever since is the Paleo Diet: glueten-free, no dairy, no sugar, or processed foods.

He takes exceptional care of his body, something he’s very conscious and also proud of. He lifts before practices and after games. And he’s frequently the first player out on the practice court.

“He puts in the work,” said Rodney Stuckey, who also entered the league in 2007. “He stays in the weight room and is the first one to practice to put up extra shots. If you take care of your body and invest in your body, obviously good things will happen.”

After last season, coach Vogel said he wished that he had handled his players’ minutes better and not used them as much. Even work in some rest throughout the 82-game schedule, especially on back-to-backs.

Scola had to carry the workload inside for the first 15 games as David West dealt with a bad ankle sprain. Roy Hibbert missed the last four games in November. Now, it appears to be Scola’s time.

So, perhaps there isn’t much to it. It just seemed odd for a professional who says he doesn’t have an injury and did not request time off was instructed to take time off. Then again, maybe it’ll be rewarding and exactly what he needs.

Only time will tell.

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