May 24, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) shoot over Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova (8) during in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers scrappy back-up point guard Matthew Dellavedova is having a playoff run no one would’ve expected, but Delly’s also earning the reputation as being one of the dirtiest players in the NBA, especially in the eyes of TNT commentator Reggie Miller.
Dellavedova, got into another scrum during Game 3 when it appeared he fell into Hawks’ big man Al Horford. Horford retaliated by throwing an elbow Dellavedova’s way. After review, the refs ejected the Hawks’ All-Star from the contest.
All the while, Miller was carrying on like Dellavedova was the dirtiest baller to ever lace up a pair of high tops.
During the broadcast, Miller kept obsessing, “I don’t believe Dellavedova is a dirty player,” but then kept making points about why he believes Delly is dirty. His fixation on Delly was a little odd and unusual.
Cavs fans know Delly well enough to have learned that he’s in the NBA because of his defense. And when you come to the league undrafted out of Saint Mary’s, you better have a high motor and not be afraid to mix it up in a world of giants.
Maybe Miller can check this out, because as the evidence shows, Delly is not a dirty player.
1. When it comes to to Taj Gibson, Delly definitely wrapped his legs around the Bulls’ big man. But leading up to that play, Gibson makes sure to rough Delly up on some screens:
To anyone who watches even a little NBA basketball, you know guys go at each other all of the time.
As Ohio.com’s Jason Lloyd points out, Delly has a way of getting under players’ skin because he’s super intense, all game long.
"“Dellavedova has made it to the NBA because he works harder and plays harder than everyone else. One NBA talent evaluator told me last year Delly squeezes every ounce of talent he can out of his limited frame. He’s not a dirty player, but his style can aggravate guys.”"
Read that again, folks: The NBA talent evaluator doesn’t believe Delly’s dirty.
Back to the film. Gibson was roughing Delly up, and the undersized Australian found a way to let Gibson, the bully in this case, know he wasn’t backing down. Gibson lost his cool and retaliated. Whistle. The guy who retaliates is always the one who gets nailed. Sports watching 101.
2. It was a little crazy to hear the TNT broadcasters cite the play in which Kyle Korver sprained his ankle as an argument against Dellavedova. In real time, and even in slow motion, it looked like true hustle play with two players going for the ball.
Yes, Dellavedova turns his head and his momentum carries him into Korver’s legs, but what’s he supposed to do? Let his face meet Korver’s leg?
It was ridiculous and irresponsible for Miller to make such an argument that this play was dirty.
3. The fact the Hawks sent Game 3 into overtime was a marvel considering they’re letting a role player nobody thought would play in the postseason get into their heads.
Horford, the Hawks starting center, who was statistically having the best game of anyone one the court at the time, became annoyed when he perceived Delly was gunning for him and unleashed the elbow.
The game basically went into halftime following the play and that’s when the TNT halftime crew of Shaq and Charles Barkley defended Horford because his elbow didn’t connect.
Great take, gentleman.
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Had Horford connected, Delly would’ve been spewing blood all over the court. I guess that’s what Shaq and Sir Charles needed to see to say that Horford was wrong.
As for the play itself, the film doesn’t like. Delly clearly trips over DeMarre Carroll‘s foot and goes down.
Shame on Delly for trying to regain his balance and landing on Horford. This is just further proof the Hawks have allowed a role player to get into their heads, and a frustrated Horford reacted.
Fortunately, Delly is on the Cavs. He’d be the player we’d all despise if he was wearing another uniform. The NBA Playoffs are a game of attrition, and you need tough players who aren’t afraid to hit the deck and take on the NBA elite if you want any chance of housing the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June.
What’s your take? Is Delly dirty?