CLEVELAND — Minutes after the biggest game of his basketball career, Matthew Dellavedova had a health scare. These Finals have made the Australian point guard an overnight sensation, and his 20-point performance in his first home game of the Finals had him poised for the most triumphant “podium game” yet. Instead, he was being rushed to the hospital for what the Cavaliers called “severe cramping.”
“I just cramped up a little bit,” Dellavedova said at practice on Wednesday. “They thought the best form of recovery would be just go to the hospital for a little bit, get an IV.”
Dellavedova was electric in the Cavs’ Game 3 win on Tuesday. He’s become a valuable defender for the Cavs, especially on Stephen Curry. More than that, he’s become a folk hero in Cleveland. Everything he did in Game 3 was met with chants of “DELLY” that eclipsed the volume of even anything they had for LeBron James.
This cramping episode, and the imagery of his immediately needing to be hooked up to an IV after his performance, only adds to his legend.
“Delly comes from a rugby background,” James said. “If any of you guys ever have an opportunity to watch a rugby game, you see how rough it is, and that’s what it’s about. He just brings it all. Everything that he has, he lays it out on the floor. I think he dove on the ground last night, an NBA Finals record six times. Last night, and last night he was on the ground again after the game in the hospital, so you could probably say seven times. He gives us everything he has, and we all appreciate that as his brothers in the lineup beside him.”
With Kyrie Irving out for the season, Dellavedova has saved the Cavs’ title hopes. They’ve bee finding ways to get it done without their stars, but losing Dellavedova would likely be too much to overcome. (Imagine being told a year ago that that was a sentence you’d read or write.)
Fortunately, the prognosis looks good for Thursday’s Game 4.
“We’re doing a lot of things and trying to tick all the boxes in terms of hydration and nutrition and different forms of recovery,” Dellavedova said. “So it’s something the training staff are talking to me about. Right now it’s just getting as much fluids in as you can and just trying to eat a lot.
“I was [at the hospital] for a little bit, but mainly just to rest up and recover. We all take it pretty easy today just to get our treatment, and we’ve watched tape and things like that. So, yeah, I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”