Despite Chicago's admirable performance, the Cleveland Cavaliers clinched a decisive Game 5 victory behind LeBron James' 38-point (14 of 24 from the field), 12-rebound, 6-assist night.
After sitting the first quarter out, Matthew Dellavedova made his appearance in the second frame. The reserve guard ran the offense well at the start, making sure the ball went to an aggressive James. The King was fully intent on getting the win this night - he had consecutive 12 points, and was the only Cleveland scorer in early Q2 until Mozgov's free throws in 7:15.
Delly played off the ball in the third quarter, and swished a corner three in the role of three shooter for LeBron James, who became the primary playmaker instead.
The Delly-Thompson lob happens yet again
We've all seen this before. The Cavaliers cleared the court up in the fourth quarter for a Dellavedova/Thompson screen and roll play. Despite having his drive cut off by Noah, Delly found a rolling Thompson with plenty of room for an emphatic two-handed jam, which sent the Cleveland crowd roaring.
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The leg lock affair
This little scuffle (close up angle) in the fourth quarter turned out to be a dubious highlight for the game. Taj Gibson and Dellavedova were entangled on a physical play, resulting in Gibson being called for a flagrant two plus automatic ejection.
Gibson's dismissal from the game weakened Chicago's hopes for a comeback victory. The call also incited debate because Dellavedova was not whistled for his leg lock on Gibson. Obviously, it was a series of physical plays that got a little too heated. Would a double-tech have been an easier outcome?
Dellavedova meant no harm in the play, and spoke about this briefly post-game. "I was trying to box him out and he pushed me in the back and then we just got tangled up."
Gibson also offered his take on the incident, and offered a compliment on Dellavedova's physicality.
"He just leg locked me, and I was trying to get my foot out there," Gibson, who was hit with drinks and other rubbish thrown by Cleveland fans after his ejection, said.
"He was pretty strong for a little guy." (source)
Delly ended the night with 5 points, 4 assists, 2 turnovers and 3 personal fouls.
It's almost certain that Delly will not be well-received by Chicago fans back in the United Center, when Game 6 happens. Regardless, the Bulls are on the brink of elimination, and the next game might just be the one that propels Cleveland into the next round.
Could Chicago push Cleveland into a Game 7? Don't count them out yet. Nothing is impossible when it comes to playoffs basketball, especially when it involves the scrappy and indomitable Chicago Bulls.