Dellavedova is not the NBA Finals hero we need. He’s the NBA Finals hero we deserve
It happened again. The Cavaliers playing with only 7 guys, basically (sorry Mike Miller :/ ), have thrown everything they’ve got at the Warriors to be juuuust good enough to inch out their 2-1 series lead. Game 3 played out like the narrative sequel to game 2; not as good as the original, but you get the feeling of where the story is headed toward. So altogether now: none of us thought Cleveland could repeat what they did on Sunday.
If you go over to Google Trends, they have the word “Dellavedova” labeled as “breakout.” We haven’t seen someone’s stock meteorically rise like this since JJ Barea was cutting up defenses to help Dirk and Co. beat LeBron in 2011. The guy was EVERYWHERE last night. Let’s be honest. Dellavedova has no business being in these NBA Finals and no business playing as good as he’s been. It’s crazy because Dellavedova literally looks like every pale-assed white guy in Ohio. Did Dellavedova win a spot on the roster from winning the Showcase Showdown on the Price Is Right? Is he dying and is this all part of a make-a-wish campaign? Did Dan Gilbert go down to the Y and signed the last guy out of the showers just for the fuck of it? Dan Gilbert WOULD do something like that. But fuck does this guy have some hustle. The entire fourth quarter, all you saw was scrappy little Delly on the floor, diving, flying into the stands. And when it came down to needing to make a play in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter, the guy goes and does this..
I mean COME ON, what in the Hell is going on here? Did we all slip into a blackhole Saturday night and wake up in some parallel universe where Dellavedova has cemented himself as the 2nd best player on this team? Every time Delly made a scrappy play, you heard Mark Jackson talking about “who wants it more” and by God, nobody on Earth seems to want this more than this guy. If they lose, guys like LeBron and Kyrie will be fine because they’re stars. For guys like Delly, it’s back to the “another guy” abyss for him and we’ll all go back to forgetting he even existed. So he’s gotta do everything, even land himself in the Goddamn hospital after the game.
But as good as Dellavedova has been, he really shouldn’t take credit for Steph Curry’s inability to shoot the basketball; Curry is doing that all by himself. I don’t buy for a minute that the MVP of the association who has made a name for himself by making other all-star caliber defenders look silly is being stopped by this guy. Curry has been a complete shell of himself. Save the last few minutes of the fourth last night when Curry finally got his shot going, he played atrocious the entire game. Overall, he’s played historically terrible in this series. Cleveland’s defense has been rock solid but the problem is that Golden State isn’t getting beat, because that would imply that Cleveland is just a better team, and they’re not. Golden State is losing. If Curry is playing at an MVP caliber level, then Golden State is up 3-0.
Underdog LeBron is the best LeBron. It’s hard to imagine the best player in the world ever being an underdog on ANY team. Since Kevin Love’s injury, the Cavs losing to Chicago in the 2nd round became a real possibility (reality check: nope!). When Kyrie Irving’s tendinitis was keeping him out of the East Finals, some of us were convinced that LeBron wouldn’t be able to dead-lift this team alone against the Eastern Conference Spurs (strike two!). When Kyrie’s knee cracked because God decided to hate LeBron this year, we all called the Finals over. We started to wonder not IF the Cavs would lose, but when. For some reason, we just all somehow forgot that LeBron was..you know..LeBron and thought he’d let himself get steamrolled by a much better Golden State squad. We thought Cleveland would get blown out of these finals, but clearly, that didn’t happen either.
Here’s something to consider: LeBron has scored more points in the first three games of the NBA Finals than anyone..ever. Jordan, Magic, Bird..everybody. Let’s analyze that for a minute. The first 2 games went into overtime and last night’s was a possession away here or there from having a completely different outcome. So if LeBron doesn’t score in record numbers EVERY night, the Cavs are dead. Last night was no different; LeBron did everything he could to will Cleveland to this win, even transform himself into Earl Thomas:
If anything, Game 3 proved that Game 2 wasn’t a fluke. And now we’re at the point where we have to seriously consider what on earth happens if LeBron and the Cavs actually pull this off. If a team with LeBron in his prime actually wins a championship, would anyone ever really consider it an upset? The 2005 Detroit Pistons had nobody really special..and I mean NOOObody while LA had 4 Hall of Famers. Now THAT was an upset. This…I’m not so sure.
It’s been an NBA Finals of beautifully bad basketball and it’s been entertaining as hell.