The Cavaliers team bus left without reserve guard Matthew Dellavedova after the team’s heartbreaking Game 1 loss to the Warriors at Oracle Arena. But in a sense it wasn’t Dellavedova who was left behind after Game 1; it was Kyrie Irving. Irving injured his knee in the overtime, knocking the All-Star out for the rest of the NBA Finals. His replacement in the starting lineup? Yup, Matthew Dellavedova.
Dellavedova is a talented second-year player who gives 110% every minute he’s on the floor. But Dellavedova is nowhere near as talented as Irving, and he’ll be looking across the court at NBA MVP Steph Curry — against whom most defenders look bewildered — when they tip off on Sunday might for Game 2. LeBron James has shouldered the load for Cleveland throughout the playoffs — and James has huge shoulders. But can the Cavaliers really contend for an NBA title with Matthew Dellavedova starting at point guard? The 24-year-old Dellavedova averaged just under 5 points in 20 minutes per game for the Cavs this season. Dellavedova has a two-year, $1.3 million contract. Irving has a max contract that pays him $90 million. But sports are full of surprises and of people rising to occasions. That’s why they play the game. Go, Matthew.