There were a lot of people doubting the Cavs’ chances after Kyrie Irving went down with a fractured knee cap in overtime in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The sentiment was that LeBron James couldn’t possibly beat the best team in the league on his own.
Matthew Dellavedova, the Australian point guard starting in Irving’s absence, frustrated Curry all night and kept the MVP off balance. Then, in crunch time Delly battled for a loose ball on the ground and came up with a vital offensive rebound in the final seconds. His two free throws with 10.7 seconds to go in overtime proved to be the difference in the game.
Fans have admired his hard play and want to know more about his background. Here are nine things you probably didn’t know about Matthew Dellavedova, starting with number nine:
9. Gaels Legend
Like fellow Australian Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova attended Saint Mary’s to play college ball and flourished. Once his collegiate career came to a close Delly was the Gaels’ all-time leader in points, assists, games played, free throw percentage, and 3-pointers.
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8. Playoff Heroics
In the regular season many NBA fans had no idea who Matthew Dellavedova was. Prior to the postseason Delly was averaging just 4.9 points per game in limited minutes.
However, a couple of nagging injuries to Irving have presented Matt with an opportunity to play important minutes and he’s stepped up big time. In the decisive Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Bulls Dellavedova led the Cavs in scoring with 19 points. According to NBC Sports, no player to lead their team in scoring for a game this postseason scored fewer points in the regular season than Delly.
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7. LeBron Had His Back
Amid some controversial plays on the court that led people to believe that Delly is a dirty player, LeBron James has maintained support for his teammate.
Here’s LeBron’s quote on the matter:
“We’re not trying to get people hurt. But you play to win the game and you play aggressively. This guy, he works his tails off every single day. He beats the odds and he comes to play as hard as he can every single night. If they’re focusing on Delly, they’re focusing on the wrong thing.”
The number six thing you probably didn’t know about Matthew Dellavedova is on the next page!
Despite his stellar college career Dellavedova didn’t attract much interest from the NBA and ended up being undrafted in 2013. He joined the Cavs summer league team that year and played well enough to earn a 2-year, $1.3 million deal.
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5. Bad Rep For…Playing Hard?
Despite all of the controversy surrounding a number of plays involving Dellavedova this postseason, the point guard hasn’t been reprimanded in any way.
Three plays have been considered suspect: When he squeezed his feet around Taj Gibson’s leg, when he fell and injured Kyle Korver’s ankle, and when he fell again behind Al Horford’s knee. Delly wasn’t punished in any instance, with Gibson and Horford actually receiving flagrant 2’s for their back lashes towards Matthew.
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4. Half-Court Defense: Game 2
When we say Dellavedova shut down Steph Curry in Game 2, we really mean that. Curry finished 0-8 on field goal attempts when guarded by Delly in the half-court. Steph will probably go off in Game 3 but for one night Matthew got the best of him.
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3. Relationship with Kyrie Irving
Irving and Dellavedova are now great friends on the Cavs but their relationship initially got off to a rocky start.
Paolo Songco ·
Kyrie was the star and Delly was simply battling for a spot on the team. Irving took exception to Matthew’s hard play and the pair apparently was on the brink of fighting on numerous occasions.
From Tristan Thompson: “Yeah, they used to f— each other up.”
The number two thing you probably didn’t know about Matthew Dellavedova is on the next page!
2. He Has A Burger Named After Him
Matthew Dellavedova’s legend has grown quickly and the concessions at Q Arena in Cleveland have taken notice. At the B-Spot you can now order a Delly Burger consisting of salami, capicola, and provolone.
The number one thing you probably didn’t know about Matthew Dellavedova is on the next page!
1. Australian vs. United States Media
There has been a noticeable difference in the way Matthew Dellavedova’s play in the postseason has been covered by the media in the U.S. and in Australia.
While he’s been consistently celebrated by his native country, many articles earlier in the playoffs fro U.S. sources have referred to Delly as a goon, dirty, and unsportsmanlike.
The Guardian, a large publication in Australia, took the matter into their own hands by bashing the U.S. media’s representation of Dellavedova, claiming that they’re determined to put an unfair label on him.