Just when we think things are cleared up between JJ Hickson and Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott, it appears that the two parties have taken a sizable step back.
In the Wednesday night 120-105 loss to the Toronto Raptors, Hickson was mysteriously benched for the entire 48 minutes, receiving a DNP-CD on the box score. Despite a fairly productive weekend of back-to-back contests (Hickson provided 21 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots against the Bulls), and word that he and Coach Scott had a one-on-one meeting to clear up any prior misunderstandings, Hickson opted to not attend a mandatory workout that was scheduled to take place on Monday morning.
“It’s something that I really don’t want to get into,” said Hickson following the game. “It is what it is, I missed a practice. Coach and I discussed it and it’s in the past.”
The Cavaliers as a team were given Monday off as they typically are following consecutive games. In this instance, Hickson was called in for a special mandatory practice, likely to continue working on his on-again-off-again defense and on-court focus.
Hickson stated that he and Coach Scott discussed his absence, leading to Wednesday night’s “coaches decision” to not play the power forward. In a game where the team was already without Anthony Parker and both Leon Powe and Daniel Gibson left with injuries, Hickson’s active benching forced the Cavaliers to go with a seven-man rotation for most of the evening.
Hickson’s up-and-down season has been well-documented to this point, including a bit of a verbal spat between he and Scott during loss earlier in the season. When asked if this instance would be a one-game punishment, Hickson said that it was his understanding that that would be the case.