Author: Brett Pollakoff

Cleveland Cavaliers v Chicago Bulls - Game Six

Cavaliers’ Matthew Dellavedova on being labeled a dirty player: ‘I was pretty annoyed by it’


Matthew Dellavedova played sparingly for the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but that’s likely to change significantly beginning with Sunday’s Game 2, now that Kyrie Irving has been ruled out for the remainder of the series with a knee injury.

Dellavedova can’t match what Irving brings offensively, but he brings a different dynamic to the court, and it’s one that his opponents have often found to be frustrating.

Dellavedova was involved in three questionable incidents during Cleveland’s postseason run. The first, with Taj Gibson of the Chicago Bulls, was largely Gibson’s fault, and didn’t result in anyone being injured.

The two with the Hawks, however, are open to some debate. Dellavedova took out Kyle Korver while diving for a loose ball, and while Korver was lost for the rest of the playoffs, there didn’t seem to be any intent on Dellavedova’s part to cause the injury.

The play with Al Horford later in the series, though, may have been intentional; Horford certainly seemed to think so, and as I wrote at the time:

Horford had Dellavedova with a Kelly Olynyk arm-lock that caused the two to fall to the floor in the first place. Dellavedova fell awkwardly into Horford’s leg, the same way he did in (inadvertently) taking Korver out for the remainder of the playoffs. Horford obviously felt it was intentional, and retaliated. But Dellavedova may have flashed back to Kevin Love‘s season-ending injury when Horford had a hold of him, and could have felt justified in attempting to inflict some damage.

Since then, Dellavedova’s teammates and coaching staff have said more than once that he’s not a dirty player, only one who’s intense. At Finals media availability on Friday, Dellavedova admitted the talk bothered him, at least initially.

“I mean, I was pretty annoyed by it to start with,” he said. “Then between Game 3 and 4 just pretty much turned off the phone and just prepared my body and watched the tape and got ready for Game 4.”

One thing is certain: If Dellavedova should be involved in any type of physical incident against the Warriors, the conjecture will return, and it will be magnified immensely given the fact that he’s now playing on the game’s biggest stage.

WATCH: An all-access look back at Game 1 of NBA Finals

Stephen Curry, LeBron James
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Game 1 of the NBA Finals was about as exciting a contest as anyone could have asked for.

The Warriors overcame a double-digit first-half deficit, Kyrie Irving came up huge with a (temporarily) game-saving block on Stephen Curry, LeBron James had a chance to win it with a shot at the end of regulation, before Golden State prevailed in the overtime session.

Relive it all with this mini-movie the league put together, which features plenty of behind-the-scenes and all-access clips in addition to fresh angles of the game’s most memorable moments.

LeBron on trash talking incident during Draymond Green’s rookie season: ‘He started it, and I finished it’


LeBron James in not much of a trash talker.

While some of the game’s all-time fiercest competitors use this tactic to motivate themselves and get under their opponent’s skin at the very same time — guys like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, for example — James prefers to be more of a quiet assassin, focusing on the task at hand.

But when others engage, James is more than willing to strike back.

Speaking to reporters at media availability on Friday, LeBron responded to a question about an incident that took place with Draymond Green during Green’s rookie season — but James made it clear that the back-and-forth exchange wasn’t his idea.

Q: LeBron, Draymond remembers when he was a rookie the first time I think he faced you when you were with the Heat in 2012. There was a play in the post that you kind of abused him and you said, You’re too small. He said that motivated him to this day; he still thinks about it. Do you remember the moment, and what do you think of the way he’s evolved since that moment in his rookie year?

LEBRON JAMES: Well, if you knew Draymond, he started the trash talking first in that game. I’m not much of a trash talker, but he started it first his rookie year. So don’t let him try to start up a story on why he’s motivated because I said something. He started it, and I finished it (smiling).

“You’re too small” is the most benign form of trash talk possible. It’s a phrase players use all the time to chide their opponent when not intending to be mean-spirited, and when not attempting to inflict too much emotional damage.

James, at this point, is very savvy when it comes to answering questions like these. His honesty is refreshing, as is his ability to see what the angle is while setting the record straight.

Report: Royce White close to a commitment to play Summer League for Clippers

Royce White

Royce White was the 16th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, but has only played part of one season since.

While dealing with a well-documented anxiety disorder, White’s handling of his situation became a problem most teams weren’t willing to deal with.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight and perhaps an additional level of maturity, White is eying an NBA comeback, which may start this summer with the Los Angeles Clippers.

From Shams Charania of Real GM:

Royce White is closing on a commitment to join the Los Angeles Clippers to make his NBA comeback in the July Summer League, league sources told RealGM.

White has considered interest from several organizations, including the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans, but gained trust with the Clippers’ front office through dialogue with brass members.

White is nearing a commitment to the Clippers, but the 6-foot-8 forward will stay away from signing any sort of free-agent deal in order to showcase himself for the NBA’s other 29 teams. He has spent the year training in Minnesota with trainer Chris Carr.

The Clippers make sense, because White is precisely the type of player they’ll need to look at while trying to upgrade the roster.

L.A. is hamstrung from a salary cap perspective, and can only sign players to minimum (-ish) salary deals. But the Clippers desperately need to add depth, which is why a veteran player like Paul Pierce, and a castoff like White may be the best (and perhaps only) legitimate options.

Kyrie Irving after being ruled out for remainder of NBA Finals due to knee injury: ‘I gave it everything I had and have no regrets’

Kyrie Irving

When Kyrie Irving went down with a knee injury in overtime of the Cavaliers’ Game 1 loss to the Warriors, he seemed to immediately know it was more serious than those he had suffered earlier in the postseason.

Irving missed time during the Eastern Conference Finals, and went to seek a second opinion on the knee issues he was dealing with. Ultimately, it was labeled as tendonitis, though Irving remained skeptical that it wasn’t a bit more serious.

As Irving left the floor this time, he was seen throwing his jersey in anger once he entered the tunnel to the locker room. And he admitted to being worried afterward, which, as it turns out, was unfortunately justified.

Now that Irving is done for this postseason, he must mentally shift to focusing on his recovery. He took the first step in that process by posting a message to fans on Instagram, and appeared to be keeping a positive outlook, at least on the surface.


“I want to thank everyone for the well wishes,” Irving wrote. “Saddened by the way I had to go out but it doesn’t take away from being apart of a special playoff run with my brothers. Truly means a lot for all the support and love. I Gave it everything I had and have no regrets. I love this game no matter what and I’ll be back soon. To my brothers: You already know what the deal is. And to Delly: “ICE it down del” *Big Perk voice *”