by Yusuf Gadlin
The Cleveland Cavaliers prevailed in Game 2 of the NBA finals 95-93 to beat the Golden State Warriors in overtime. LeBron James led the way for the Cavs with 39 points 16 rebounds and 11 assist. It was James’s fifth career triple double playing in a NBA finals game, and every bit of it was needed to defeat the Golden State Warriors. LeBron James got some much needed help from his Australian buddy Matthew Dellavedova.
Little Delly was the unquestioned player of the game.
Dellavedova finished with nine clutch points including two huge free throws in overtime. But it was his terrifying Defense on the MVP of the NBA Stephen Curry that opened eyes around the world. Delly held Curry scoreless every time he was tasked with stopping the explosive point guard when it mattered most. With the game on the line and Golden State down a point, Curry shot a air-ball as Dellavedova’s outstretched hand was enough to force Curry’s miserable shot attempt. Watching that type of amazing defense from a undrafted player has me asking myself ” How in the hell did NBA scouts miss this guy”?
Maybe Dellavedova bricked too many three pointers during shooting drills? Or maybe he just wasn’t talented as the other athletic house hold named prospects? Either way, those misfortunes must have overshadowed his furious defense and heart to win. Those invaluable intangibles were recognized by Cleveland’s general Manager David Griffin and may just have the Cleveland Cavaliers on the brink of a NBA championship. After Game 1, Dellavedova was forgotten by his teammates and the team bus and left stranded at Oracle Arena. After yesterday heroic performance Dellavedova will never be forgotten again.
Now to Golden State’s side of things
This was a very disappointing loss for the Western conference champions. They played reckless most of the night and launched a bunch of off balanced three pointers. I hope Golden State recognizes that Cleveland will not allow them to play their brand of basketball which is smooth and finesse. They have to play with more aggression and exceed Cleveland’s physicality if they plan on winning it all. This Cleveland defense isn’t going anywhere, so the Warriors have to be ready for a dog fight from here on out. I expect a bounce back performance from Stephen Curry, but he has to be careful not to engage in a one on one battle with Dellavedova. Also, the other half of this equation is Klay Thompson. Thompson has to play smarter basketball as he picked up two silly fouls early in the first quarter. Thompson, who had 34 points could have had 60 had he recognize his importance to his team. Anybody that saw the start of this game felt Thompson was about to enter that epic zone where he might explode for 37 points in a quarter, like he did in the regular season.
Well, It didn’t happen. And if you happened to see Klay Thompson facial expression as he sat disgusted on the bench, it suggested his chance at finals history had slip through his hands.
This series now shifts back to Cleveland with all the momentum clearly on the Cavaliers side. I expect J.R. Smith to rebound from his boneheaded plays that almost cost his team this game. Smith made some detrimental mental mistakes that almost gift-wrapped a victory for the Golden State Warriors. Smith Fouled Stephen Curry in the back court when there was no need to which resulted in two free throws, then he fouled Curry on a pump fake that he has seen over a thousand times, and lastly fouling Harrison Barnes when he already dunked the basketball. Those type of idiotic plays will have your teammates thinking you sniffed something at halftime. I expect all of the Cavs role players to play better at home. And with LeBron James playing like Superman, the Golden State Warriors could very well find themselves in a 2-1 deficit after Game 3.