Having not won a game in a NBA final in their history, the Cleveland Cavaliers have now won two, the latest a 96-91 defeat of Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of this season’s finals.
It was nervy, especially in the fourth quarter where league MVP, Stephen Curry, threatened to push the game to extra time for a third consecutive time but the Cavs held on to take the game and a 2-1 lead in the seven-game series.
The Cavs had two men who stood tall on the court. LeBron James was being himself on the night, finishing on 40 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. But it was his new partner-in-crime, Matthew Dellavedova, who caught eye at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Australian second-year guard, 24, harassed Curry the whole game, was the first to get down on the court to fight for loose balls, playing with ultimate intensity and registered a career-high 20 points while adding 5 rebounds and four assists in 39 minutes of game time.
His heroics took a toll immediately after the game as he got on a stretcher and was rushed to Cleveland Clinic for treatment.
"Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova experienced severe cramping tonight following Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Cleveland. He underwent a treatment process, including an IV, that prevented him from being available for media following the game. He will continue receiving treatment tonight at the Cleveland Clinic and his status will be updated tomorrow afternoon," the Cavaliers announced in a statement on their website.
LeBron, a 4-time NBA MVP and without doubt the star of the team, showered praises on ‘Delly’ who rocketed into fame after stifling MVP Curry in game two in Oakland.
"He is made of steel or something. If there's a ball on the ground he is going to be the first guy on the ground. He showed that multiple times tonight," James said.
"He gives us everything until the tank is empty, and he has a small little reserve tank that he continues to work through. He is huge for our team, he gives us that grit, that grit that we need. He was huge for us."
After scoring the first 12 points of the game, the Cavaliers never went behind in the game and were only threatened by a late flurry of points from Curry in the fourth quarter. The Warriors point guard had managed to cut down Cavs lead to just three points with 18.8 seconds left. However, LeBron hit two more free throws to put a 5-point lead which Curry and co couldn’t find an answer to.
The win leaves Cavs just two games away from winning their first ever NBA title.