The Cleveland Cavaliers completed their four-game sweep of the Raptors Monday night to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
In the team’s 128-93 win, all five starters scored double-digits and 11 of the 12 players to log minutes scored in some capacity. However, the narrative the day after is not about the players that saw action on the court, it is about the lone player that did not.
According to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Cavs Head Coach Tyronn Lue attempted to substitute Rodney Hood into the game in the fourth quarter. With the team holding a substantial lead, Hood reportedly refused to enter the game and his actions angered his teammates.
“This is the playoffs,” an anonymous Cleveland player said. “We’re trying to win a championship. This isn’t about you.”
Changes to the rotation were looming and Cedi Osman saw on-court action for the first time since Game 2 and only his second game played this postseason since the Cavs’ Game 6 blowout loss to the Pacers in the first round.
Reports of Hood refusing to enter the game will not bode well for his playoff future. Already having a shaky postseason, along with other players, a refusal to enter the game will make the decision of taking him out of the rotation altogether all too easy. Jeff Green, Kevin Love, Kyle Korver and JR Smith have all seen an improvement in their offensive output in the second round and should it continue, this team will be dangerous.
According to a team source, Hood met with GM Koby Altman Tuesday morning and apologized for declining to enter Monday night’s game.
Hood “feels awful” and plans to apologize to his teammates and coaches in person before the team plays next week and a suspension is not likely, according to the team source, per Cavs beat writer Dave McMenamin.
The Cavs are not viewing Hood’s decision as an “act of defiance,” the team source told ESPN, per McMenamin, and Lue did not take it as a personal slight.
Hood voiced support for his teammate’s efforts during the game, which ended in a blowout, as the reason for not entering the game, writes McMenamin. Hood explained to Altman, according to a team source, that he said something to the effect of, “I’m good, I’m fine, play the other guys,” when asked to go in Monday.
Hood’s lack of scoring is the main reason his minutes have dwindled as the team moves deeper into the playoffs. Take your minutes, help the team and enjoy the ride because the Eastern Conference Finals start next week.