The Cavaliers have moved past Rodney Hood refusing to enter Game 4 against the Toronto Raptors in garbage time.
After all, it’s the least of their problems after the year they’ve had.
“I’ve been a part of so much stuff, that wasn’t nothing, really,” head coach Tyronn Lue said following practice on Thursday. “He apologized. It’s over. Now our focus is on the Celtics.”
The Cavs were up by 30 points with 7:38 remaining in Game 4 against the Toronto Raptors. Hood, who had been bumped for the rotation in favor of Cedi Osman, allegedly refused to enter the game according to a report from The Athletic.
Hood suggested that Jose Calderon go into the game instead.
“It was end of game, it’s seven minutes to go, and I saw we had bodies.” Hood said after practice. “You know, Jose wanted to go in, and I told them, ‘Just let Jose play.’ But I should have just went in and it would have been no confusion. And obviously, I should have known it was going to be (a story) because I didn’t play throughout the duration of the game— it was going to look bad.
“But it wasn’t (as bad) as people was trying to make it. But next time I’m definitely going to go in. I apologized to T-Lue for any confusion and stuff like that, but that’s all it was.”
Along with Lue, Hood offered an apology up to Cavs general manager Koby Altman following the game. On Thursday, the first day the Cavs have had practice ahead of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Hood apologized to his teammates who took the incident in stride.
“They were laughing at me when I apologized to my teammates and they were like, ‘Hood, that’s not really a distraction’ because of everything that they’ve been through this year,” he said. “So they all took light of it, they understand and things like that. So it wasn’t anything, really.”
One teammate who understood what Hood was going through was Kevin Love. He of course, was the target in a January team meeting after he exited the Cavs matchup with Oklahoma City and missed practice the following day. It was during that meeting that Love revealed his struggles with anxiety.
“I was that guy before,” Love said. “Listen: Not even that it’s a second chance, but things like that happen in the course of a season. I mean, I’ve only known Rodney for a short period of time, but I know he’s a great guy. I know he’s here to win.
“Was that a great decision? Maybe not. But he came in today, said he’s all in, and we believe him. That’s why we were able to laugh it off, and he came in and had a great practice today.”
Since coming to the Cavs at the trade deadline, Hood averaged 10.8 points and 2.6 rebounds in 21 regular season games. He also suffered a back injury and his playing time has dwindled throughout the playoffs. Hood started Game 1 against Indiana, but then moved to a bench role and then finally out of the rotation in Game 4 against Toronto.
But one of his biggest moments for the Cavs came in the first game he suited up in the Wine and Gold against, you guessed it, Boston. He dropped 15 points in just 19 minutes.
While Lue wouldn’t say whether or not Osman or Hood is in the rotation for the conference finals, he did cite that game as the way they need Hood to play.
“If you watch the last time we played them, he had a good game,” Lue said. “Really played well scoring the basketball. So, just get back to being aggressive looking to score the basketball.”
Whether or not he’s in the rotation though, maybe the most important thing is that both Hood and the Cavs have moved past the incident. And let’s be honest— they can’t afford to have anymore drama.
“I’m a selfless guy even though this don’t look well, but I’m a selfless guy,” Hood said. “And regardless of how many minutes I play— starting, coming off the bench, don’t play or whatever— I’m trying to win. I’m trying to win a ring and that’s what it’s about. Like I said I gotta make a positive impact when I’m out there, that’s the only thing I’m really worried about.”