Aussies in NBA Finals: Delly plays sparingly, LeBron and Cavs roll
Matthew Dellavedova saw just two minutes in garbage time of Game 6 of the NBA Finals, as his Cleveland Cavaliers crushed the reigning champion Golden State Warriors 115-101 to force a Game 7.
Delly made a pull-up jump shot off a pick, made one of two free throws, and got an assist:
Delly played even less than his average of eight minutes a game in the Finals due to the stellar play of his fellow Australian-born point guard Kyrie Irving (23 points), and coach Tyronn Lue’s preference for veteran bucket-getter, Mo Williams (four points in five minutes).
The Warriors were without Andrew Bogut due to a knee injury that he suffered in Game 5 that will see him out of action for 6-8 weeks, throwing his Olympic hopes in doubt.
Bogut averaged just 13 minutes a game in the series, so his injury did not have a huge impact on the Warriors’ lineup, but his rim protection (4.7 blocks per 100 possessions in the playoffs) and intangibles (+4.6 overall rating when on the court in the playoffs) were missed nonetheless.
The Cavaliers scored 42 points in the paint in Game 6, as opposed to the Warriors’ 30, indicating that the Dubs missed Bogut’s interior presence, despite Draymond Green’s 10 rebound effort in his return from suspension.
With Bogut out, and his replacement, Andre Iguodala, in the starting lineup struggling with back issues, the Cavaliers struck big early, gaining a 31-11 lead at quarter time.
— Ben Skinner (@skinnersource) June 17, 2016
The Warriors fought back in spurts, with Klay Thompson and Steph Curry pitching in with 25 and 30 respectively, while Leandro Barbosa’s three pointer got the Dubs within seven with eight minutes left in the Quicken Loans Arena matchup.
But it was the Cavs’ hometown hero, LeBron James, that proved to be the most valuable player on the court, scoring or assisting on the first 27 points of the final quarter to stave off the Warriors’ run, finishing with a legendary stat line of 41 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks, including these highlights with Tristan Thompson (15 pts, 16 rbs) and JR Smith (14 pts, 3 stls):
Curry had a literal dummy spit after fouling out in the fourth quarter, throwing his mouth-guard and being ejected for the first time in his career:
Steph actually drilled a fan with his mouthguard, then apologized https://t.co/zSOD1TPUh8
— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) June 17, 2016
He could be suspended for the final game of the season, but this seems unlikely according, to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
NBA precedent is to fine players when throwing items into stands, not suspension. That is likely what Curry is facing.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 17, 2016
The series ends at the Warriors’ home of Oracle Arena in Oakland, where the Cavaliers look to become the first team to win the Finals after being 3-1 down, against a team without Bogut that’s undoubtedly drained from their record 73-win regular season.