In Game Two, the world was introduced to Matthew Dellave-defense. While in Game Three, it was Matthew Dellave-dive-a who showed up…big time. I know his offense was huge, career high in fact, but the way he sacrificed his body for those 50/50 balls was enormous.
Whenever Delly dove to the floor, he was contagious, not only to his teammates but everyone watching seemed to extend their body forward as well.
In one play, Delly tried to save the ball coming out of bounds but ended up throwing his body to the stands. That ball, had he not tried to save it, could have been awarded to Cleveland as no one wearing the home gold laid a finger on it. Strangely enough, you just can’t convince yourself to hate that play as that’s the only way he knows how to go about with his work.
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Cavaliers fans are fortunate to have been able to watch this neanderthal from down under do his thing since his rookie year and now the rest of the league is taking notice. He’s not doing anything different from what we’ve seen from day one but the spotlight is now on him while the stakes are the highest. He deserves every bit of attention. Heck, kids are now learning about his type of game winning plays.
Delly is redefining the importance of hustling for every possession. Game winners are always good and they provide for excellent highlight reel material but they are rare opportunities compared to those 50/50 balls that are often available on the floor. Take Game Three for instance, there must have been at least four plays where Delly ended up on the floor winning a battle for the loose ball. Those four plays were virtually eight points at least that Delly has given the Cavs and in a closely fought series such as this one, they are very much invaluable.
If those loose balls were seen with as much reverence as game winners, Delly would easily be one of the most clutch players in the league.
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He’s not going to get those steals or blocks, usual defensive stats, but discipline and drive are his calling cards. It takes a lot of patience too as his style is not a sure fire method of early success but it gradually takes solid jabs at the opponent, making them susceptible to his bursts of energy towards the end.
Two more wins to go and it’s a safe bet that Delly will continue to display this no holds barred approach to each and every moment and this isn’t good news for Stephen Curry and the Warriors.