INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — When Rodney Hood gathered his teammates to issue an apology on Thursday afternoon, the Cleveland Cavaliers guard was met with an unexpected response: laughter.
Three days earlier, Hood made waves for refusing to enter the fourth quarter of the Cavs’ series-clinching Game 4 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Hood had yet to play in the game that was already out of hand by the time head coach Tyronn Lue had called his number, signaling that the fourth-year guard had fallen out of Cleveland’s playoff rotation.
Hood, however, claims his actions didn’t stem from selfishness or anger. Rather, he insists he was simply trying to defer to older teammates such as guard Jose Calderon, who eventually took his place in substituting for LeBron James.
“I saw we had bodies. Jose wanted to go in. I told ’em, just let Jose play,” Hood said following practice on Thursday. “I should’ve just went in. There wouldn’t have been no confusion. Obviously I should have known because I didn’t play throughout the duration of the game it was going to look bad, but it wasn’t as people were trying to make it.
That confusion led to a meeting with Lue and Cavs general manager Koby Altman, who decided against punishing Hood for not entering the game. Following a two-day break, Hood, however, still felt compelled to apologize to his teammates, who dismissed the notion his actions being a distraction.
“They was laughing at me when I apologized to the team,” Hood said with a smile. “They was like, ‘That’s not really a distraction’ because of everything they’ve been through this year. They all took light of it, they understand.”
All jokes aside, The Cavs could stand to benefit from getting more out of Hood, who they acquired in a three-way deal at the trade deadline. After averaging 10.8 points in the regular season, the Duke product is averaging just 4.6 points in the playoffs, initially losing his spot in the starting lineup before falling out of the rotation altogether.
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Article Courtesy of WKYC Channel 3 News Cleveland
First and Second Picture Courtesy of Joe Robbins and Getty Images