Kelly Oubre Jr. made his presence felt on Thursday night, popping for 17 points with five rebounds, two assists and two steals off the bench in the Washington Wizards’ 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. It’s not too big a stretch to say that the third-year man out of Kansas tilted the game.
His insertion into the Wizards’ lineup in the second quarter flipped a small-ball switch that energized Washington to the tune of a 22-9 run that put the Wiz on top heading into halftime. Washington’s small lineup outscored the Cavs by 17 points in nine minutes of burn; all told, the Wizards were a +15 in 32 minutes with Oubre on the floor, and a -8 in 16 minutes without him.
Oubre’s most lasting impact, though, may have come in the form of a contribution to the NBA’s rich tapestry of absurd goofs. With Cleveland bringing the ball up on offense during the second quarter, Oubre took the opportunity to reach down to untie the sneaker of Cavaliers swingman Rodney Hood during the run of play … and got caught doing it on camera:
The Cavs’ video board caught Kelly Oubre Jr. trying to untie Rodney Hood’s sneakers during a dead ball pic.twitter.com/lGIIPGnuGK
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 23, 2018
Kelly Oubre untied Rodney Hood's shoes? pic.twitter.com/Bc8uJQQvbJ
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) February 23, 2018
“I didn’t recognize it until I took off running,” Hood told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin after the game. “He was doing it in a joking way.”
Oubre confirmed that, calling Hood “my guy” and saying their friendship went back a couple of years.
— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) February 23, 2018
“It was just jokingly fun,” Oubre told reporters after the game, according to The Washington Post. “But at the end of the day, I was down on my knees and his teammates were like, ‘Yo, tie your shoes,’ so I just messed with him a little bit. … It was all fun. He laughed about it. He was trying to snitch on me to the ref, but that’s my guy, though.”
Hood said the Wizards were hit with a retractive delay of game warning after the refs reviewed the play at halftime, but that was it in terms of in-game punishment. Whether Oubre gets anything after the fact, though, remains to be seen; lest we forget, he’s not the first NBA player to go down this particular road.
So there’s the answer to your question, Quicken Loans Arena Humongotron operator: Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith is who unties someone’s shoe, repeatedly, to the point of getting fined $50,000 for it. We now wait with bated breath to find out if Wave Papi’s got the gumption to keep lace-hunting, knowing that each captured attempt could get him one step closer to writing Adam Silver a biiiiiig check.
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