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Matthew Dellavedova Gets In an Early Finals Nutshot

Matthew Dellavedova strikes again.

by Sean Newell
Jun 3 2016, 2:13pm

Mathew Dellavedova is a terrible human being. He might even be the worst, but I don't like talking in absolutes. Nevertheless, I really wanted him to get tagged for a flagrant foul when he blatantly smacked Andre Iguodala in the nuts in what appears to be a burgeoning theme in the NBA this year. It came at the tail end of the third quarter after Dellavedova turned the ball over and went crashing to the ground and Iguodala wound up pushing the ball up the court. Dellavedova was playing catch up and in bad position, but—just like Draymond Green's kick to Steven Adams's nuts—it can be plausibly argued that he was not actually trying to hit Iguodala in the nuts. It can also be plausibly argued that Dellavedova is a dirty pest who does this kind of thing all the time.

"Delly needs to play like this to stay in the league," former teammate Anderson Varejao told The Vertical. "If you ask me if Delly is a dirty player, I don't think he is, but he has a way that he plays. He needs to do this for that team; play hard and tough. That is his way of helping Cleveland."

(He's dirty.)

It definitely looks like he's trying to swipe at the ball, but the only problem is, the ball is nowhere near where he swipes and he can clearly see that. Instead of swiping the ball, he swipes two balls and Iguodala immediately got up in his face. The two have tangled before, with Dellavedova diving at Iguodala's knees for a loose ball and also jumping on both Iguodala and Draymond like he was trying to get a piggy back ride. He's dirty, but he's also the perfect level of dirty. He's also always described as "gritty" and "a good defender" so his cheap shots get explained away as hustle. In that clip of him taking out Iguodala's knees Mike Breen literally says "Iguodala fell down...good defense from Dellavedova."

The referees spent some time reviewing the play and it was eventually called a common foul, as it should have been. If Dellavedova had been hit with a flagrant when Draymond didn't get one, that would not have been a good look. But the play was not without a karmic impact. The Cavs had made a nice run in the third quarter and even (briefly) took the lead. Following this play, The Warriors went on 13-2 run and blew Cleveland out of the water for a 104-89 win in the opening game of the finals.

[ESPN]