Independence, Ohio • Rodney Hood got an unusual reaction when he apologized to his Cleveland teammates for refusing to check into Game 4 against Toronto.
The chaotic Cavaliers have dealt with bigger nonsense this season.
“They was 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, so it wasn’t anything really.”
Hood added another distraction to a season full of them on Tuesday night when he waved off coach Tyronn Lue’s request to replace LeBron James during the fourth quarter of the Cavs’ blowout win over the Raptors. The Cavs were ahead by 30 when Hood, whose playing time has dwindled in the postseason, told Lue to put in Jose Calderon instead.
Hood said he told Lue to “just let Jose play” and then regretted his decision.
“I should have known because I didn’t play throughout the duration of the game that it was gonna look bad, but it wasn’t (as bad) as people was trying to make it,” Hood said. “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.
“I should have took it more serious and went in there and got some reps up and get in a little rhythm.”
The Cavs did not fine or suspend the 25-year-old Hood, who came to Cleveland in a Feb. 8 trade from Utah.
Both before and after Hood arrived, the Cavs, who will open the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday in Boston, have dealt with a lengthy list of disruptions.
There was the heated team meeting in which some players confronted Kevin Love for missing time. There was the roster overhaul at the trading deadline. There was Lue’s medical absence, Tristan Thompson’s relationship with reality TV star Khloe Kardashian and almost constant speculation surrounding superstar LeBron James’ future.
A season-long soap opera.
“I hate it,” Lue said of the Cavs’ circus.
But Love said Hood has been forgiven and it’s likely the Cavs will need him against the Celtics and maybe beyond.
“I was that guy before,” Love said. “Not even that it’s a second chance, but things like that happen in the course of a season. 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.”
There’s nothing funny about Hood’s recent play.
He started Game 1 in the opening round against Indiana, but has not been effective coming off the bench. He scored just two points in the three games against the Raptors on 1 of 9 shooting.
Hood, though, is confident he can contribute. Just three days after joining the Cavs, he had one of his best games on Feb. 11 at Boston, scoring 15 points.
He’s hoping for another shot.
“I haven’t played well regardless of what minutes I get, I gotta have a positive impact on the game and that’s the frustrating part,” he said. “The good thing about it is that we gotta a lot of basketball left and it’s just next play, next series and try to get better.”