PBT Podcast: What the Cavaliers are doing right, the Warriors doing wrong, and Game 4

1 Comment

Matthew Dellavedova could be the next mayor or Cleveland, right now he’d win in a landslide. LeBron James is having the kind of series that you can only compare with Magic, Michael and the other greats. Stephen Curry has largely struggled, and the front line of the Warriors has gone MIA.

The NBA Finals has a different feel to them after the Cavaliers once again stymied the Warriors offense, LeBron did his thing and the Cleveland went up 2-1 in the NBA Finals.

In today’s edition of the PBT Podcast, we’ve got PBT’s Kurt Helin and Brett Pollakoff, plus NBCSports’ Dominic Ridgard breaking down what the Cavaliers are doing right — defense, mostly — and what the Warriors are doing wrong (almost everything it seems). We also start to look ahead to Game 4, and if things are about to change.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.

Matthew Dellavedova: “I’ll be ready to go tomorrow”


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.”

LeBron on his late-game steal of Curry’s inbound pass: ‘I knew it was coming’


With 51 seconds remaining in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, and with the Warriors suddenly finding life with Stephen Curry raining ridiculous shots from all over the floor, every possession would count.

LeBron James made sure one of Golden State’s was taken away, and it was all thanks to just how smart he was in the moment.

James jumped the passing lane to come away with a critical steal on an inbound pass from Stephen Curry, and was immediately fouled. He pointed to his temple and smiled on his way back up the court, telling everyone he’d seen what was about to unfold.

“I just seen them run that set before, and I was telling the coaching staff that I was in tune and I knew it was coming,” James said of the play afterward.

Whether due to extensive film study or just remembering a play the Warriors had run in this series, LeBron was ready.

Warriors remain favorites to win the title despite trailing Cavaliers 2-1 in NBA Finals


The Warriors were significantly favorited by oddsmakers to win the championship heading into their Finals matchup against the Cavaliers, and even though they now trail two games to one in the series following Tuesday night’s Game 3 loss, Vegas still sees Golden State as having the best chance to come away with this year’s title.

From Jeff Sherman of the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook:

The margin by which the Warriors are favored has dipped, but it’s at least mildly surprising they remain the team predicted to win while trailing in the series.

The reason, perhaps, is that these games have all been so close. Games 1 and 2 could have gone either way, and despite falling behind by as many as 20 points in Game 3, Golden State had come back to cut it to one on a three from Stephen Curry with 2:45 left.

And, the reality remains that should the Warriors find a way to win Game 4, the series would be tied at two games apiece with two of the final three being played at Oracle Arena. If that scenario should unfold, you’d have to like their chances.

But the way LeBron James has his Cavaliers playing, I wouldn’t be willing to bet on it.

LeBron admits to being upset by third-place finish in MVP voting


Stephen Curry deserved to win the MVP this season. He was the best player on a Warriors team that put up a league-best 67 wins during the regular season, and more often than not, that’s how the award is decided.

James Harden had a season worthy of MVP consideration, too, so he came in second.

And the guy that most believe is the best player in the game today? LeBron James came away with the third-place finish.

After another stellar performance where he finished with 40 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and four steals while playing 46 of the game’s 48 minutes to put the Cavaliers up two games to one in the NBA Finals, LeBron admitted to being upset by where he ultimately landed in the MVP race.

“Every day I step out on the basketball floor, D-Wade, you know me, I want to be the MVP,” James said, in a conversation with Dwyane Wade that aired on ESPN. “For my teammates, for whoever is looking to me as a leader. I can’t say that I wasn’t upset finishing third, because I know what I bring to the table. I know how much I work — on my craft, and every single night.

“I can’t say I was happy about finishing third, but I didn’t need that extra motivation.”

LeBron has something motivating him that’s allowed him to play at a level that even those closest to him have never seen. As for the MVP, some of that is voter fatigue, because it gets old recognizing the same player for his greatness year after year, and sometimes the voters look to find a reason why others are more deserving.

But as we’re seeing in these Finals, the real MVP (as Kevin Durant might say) is LeBron, unquestionably so.