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Rodney Hood refused to play in garbage time during Cavaliers’ blowout win over the Raptors

Hood’s awful playoffs just got a little worse.

NBA: Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers swamped the Toronto Raptors, 128-93, Monday night to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, but all wasn’t well in northeastern Ohio. Reserve Rodney Hood refused to enter the game during the fourth quarter of a blowout, shucking off the chance to pick up some extra postseason experience and raising concerns of a possible rift between the athletic guard and the team that acquired him at this year’s trade deadline.

Hood was tabbed to enter the game with 7:48 to play and the Cavs leading by 30 points, but waved off head coach Tyronn Lue’s assignment. While veteran teammates reportedly worked to convince him to take the floor, the 25-year-old remained steadfast in his refusal. Jose Calderon took his place, finishing the game with two points and a +5 rating as his team celebrated a four-game sweep of the top-seeded Raptors on its home court.

The Cavaliers haven’t commented publicly on Hood’s actions, but it appears he will avoid official punishment for his decision to stay on the bench.

Monday’s spat was the latest step in a frustrating postseason for Hood. He’s averaged just 4.6 points on an inefficient 39.6 percent shooting during these playoffs. Those struggles manifested against Toronto; in three games against the Raptors, he had just two points while making just one of his nine shots from the field.

It’s a significant downturn for a player acquired to give LeBron James some important help in the lineup. Hood was averaging nearly 17 points and 28 minutes per game with the Utah Jazz in 2017-18 before being traded to Cleveland in a three-team deal that also brought George Hill to Ohio. While he remained a part-time starter with the Cavs, his usage dropped significantly with his new team. Though he played just 2.5 fewer minutes per game in Lue’s lineup, he attempted nearly five fewer shots per contest than he had with the Jazz.

But postseason struggles aren’t especially new for Hood. He made his first playoff appearance with Utah last spring and was even less efficient, making only 35 percent of his shots from the field as the Jazz eventually fell in the Western Conference semifinals. Now, the stigma surrounding his inability to handle the NBA’s second season will only grow after his refusal to take the floor, even in garbage time, against the East’s No. 1 seed.