LeBron & Co. need firmer grip | Inquirer Sports
Bare Eye

LeBron & Co. need firmer grip

Lebron James was quoted as saying Matthew Dellavedova was made of steel.

It was not clear if James expressed his awe of the tough and peppery Australian guard yesterday—after Cleveland overtook Golden State 2-1 in the NBA Finals with a scrambling win at home—or after Game 2, which LeBron and the Cavaliers stole from the Warriors on Sunday.

Truth is Dellavedova, or Delly, as James loved to address the scene-stealer who put the clamp on MVP Stephen Curry in Game 2, was a virtual nonentity on the Cleveland bench before the Finals.

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But a wire agency report from Cleveland yesterday said Delly was the delicious topic of delighted home fans, who partied all night after the Cavaliers rode to within two wins of claiming their first NBA title in franchise history.

Anyway, it must’ve been Dellavedova’s guts and grit—that saw him diving on the floor to save possession, jumping through the ringside front row chasing the ball—that must’ve led to that glowing reference to steely toughness.

At the height of that early mano-a-mano with Curry yesterday, Dellavedova caused the reigning league MVP to miss two successive baskets, while scooting with two goals in return, that gave Cleveland a 51-41 lead early in the third quarter.

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Curry could score only three points in the first 30 minutes, while the bigger Cavaliers dominated the paint and played deliberately to make the floor sticky for the usually flashy Warriors.

The game was fast shaping into a walk in the park for the Cleveland team that had gleefully gone up by 20 points, almost unopposed.

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James was given a breather, so was Dellavedova, who was relieved of his close-in chase of Curry.

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Golden State coach Steve Kerr, dampened, called a time out and told his spiritless men to put their heads up. He also made it a point to send in more muscular, seasoned veterans, led by Leandro Barbosa and the seldom used David Lee.

Curry went on a rampage, while the fresher, tougher Warriors now on the floor battled it out every inch of the way.

Result: the 15-point Cleveland lead was reduced to 2 in the last quarter. Curry, who had only 3 points in the first 30 minutes, would finish with 24 points, after having brought Golden State within one point, 81-80, in the third quarter.

The game, indeed, was closer than the final 96-91 score indicated.

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The scary finish only meant the Cavaliers, despite the all-around might of James, cannot afford to relax. Cleveland, ahead, must, in fact, work for a firmer grip.

TAGS: Game 2, Golden State, James, Lebron James, Matthew Dellavedova, NBA Finals, score

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