No Kyrie Irving, no problem. When Irving went down with a knee injury with 9:47 remaining in the second quarter the scores were level at 35, with the game in the balance. The Cavaliers needed someone to stand up, and stand up did Matthew Dellavedova!
Delly proved to Chicago and the rest of the league that he is much more than just a leg-locker, he is a legitimate threat as a back-up point guard.
Dellavedova led the Cavs in scoring, finishing with 19 points on 7/11 shooting. Delly almost broke the internet and the Cavaliers twitter account joined in on the fun.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) May 15, 2015
It wasn't just the fact that Delly scored 19 points, it was how he went about doing it. He showed off an array of offensive arsenal by draining pull-up jumpers, jump shots in transition and floaters. What also made this performance all the more special was that it was done on a night where LeBron James struggled from the field, shooting just 7/23.
Delly outplayed Derrick Rose (there's a sentence I never thought I'd write), on both the offensive and defensive end. He was dominant and I suspect he loved the boos he received from the crowd as he checked in during the second quarter. Rose is known for his speed, but Delly did a great job of staying in front of him and making life as difficult as possible for the superstar. Delly took a charge in fourth, at a time when Chicago was attempting a comeback, quickly dousing any remaining hope for the Bulls.
Within seconds of checking in late in the first quarter, Delly made his presence known. A sweet connection with Tristan Thompson, who was able to finish the alley-oop after being fouled, was definitely a sign of things to come.
Mid-way through the third quarter when Cleveland couldn't buy a bucket, Dellavedova took charge and rose to the occasion. It was officially 'Delly Time' as he connected on a floater and on the next possession drained a huge three to push the lead out to 15 points. The Chicago Bulls would never recover.
Delly did a great job of handling the ball in his 34 minutes on the court. He was able to limit his turnovers to 3, which is a testament to his mindset in the midst of the biggest game of his young NBA career. Even with LeBron on the court for the majority his minutes, Delly took control of the ball and was able to set the pace of the Cavs offence.
With Dellavedova playing so well it allowed the Cavaliers the luxury of sitting Irving for the remainder of the game. After being banged up in these playoffs, some rest will definitely help Irving as the Cavaliers push towards the Championship.
Delly made Aaron Brooks look like a fool on this play as he created plenty of space for himself to operate in.
Praise for the 24 year-old Aussie was coming thick and fast and from all over the globe after his stellar performance. Perhaps the most telling words came from LeBron James.
"[Dellavedova is] the toughest guy on the team. He's a guy that works extremely hard. We're blessed to have a guy like that; tough as nails. I'm so happy for him, so proud of him."
As Cleveland now wait to see who they will face in the Eastern Conference Finals, we can revel in Delly highlights for days.