After each game of the NBA Finals, Slate will be answering the most important of otherwise arbitrary questions: Who did it better?
In Game 1, my colleague Rachael Larimore highlighted Steph Curry’s momentum-shifting 8-point, 83-second flurry as the “it” moment. In Game 2, she bestowed the honor on LeBron James and his Magic Johnson impression in place of injured point guard Kyrie Irving.
As for Game 3? Well, the answer is as obvious as vegemite is offensive to the human palate: Cleveland guard and Australian pest Matthew Dellavedova.
One game removed from draining the realness from league MVP Steph Curry’s offensive swagger (and just two years removed from going undrafted out of West Coast Conference powerhouse Saint Mary’s), Dellavedova all but carried the Cavs to the win in Cleveland on Tuesday.
In addition to his normal, not-found-in-the-box-score contributions—stifling defense, hustle plays, shots at opposing players’ ACLs—the Aussie was a revelation on the offensive end all night. Chipping in 20 points (7-17 from the field, 2-6 from three), to go with with five rebounds, five assists, and the aforementioned “intangibles,” he was an across the board contributor in a game that ending up coming down to the wire once Curry’s jump shot returned to life.
Look no further than the play below for evidence of King Delly’s “it” night. Cleveland’s lead down to just one following a Curry-led Warriors push late in the fourth quarter, Dellavedova takes the ball at top of the key, haphazardly crashes towards the post with Curry in tow, and heaves up a prayer of a shot.
The basket was good, his body found the hardwood (again), and, whistled for the foul, Steph Curry’s hatefire for his defensive nemisis (somehow) grew even stronger. Game 3 was the Delly show, we were all just witnesses.