Today’s 2 Cent Tuesday sports blog focuses on the lingering questions that emerged from Sunday night’s Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks.
“Will they” or “won’t they” are the burning questions on everyone’s minds.
That’s what NBA fans are debating in anticipation of tomorrow night’s Game 4 in Cleveland – most likely the final game of this series.
Down 3 – 0 to the Cavs, will the reeling Hawks seek retribution?
Will the NBA Eastern Conference’s best 2014 – 15 regular season team retaliate against Cavs’ guard Matthew Dellavedova for two highly contested plays in which he was involved in the series?
Will someone on the deflated Hawks team look for revenge against Dellavedova for his scrappy play that has led some fans, especially those in Atlanta, to unnecessarily call the Aussie point guard a dirty player.
Let’s hope not!
The Hawks have enjoyed their most successful season in decades. However, they’re just not as good as the Cavs. And, they know it. So do NBA fans who have witnessed them wither against a shorthanded Cleveland team that has twice beaten them convincingly in Atlanta in this series.
The Hawks have never stood a chance against the Cavs. A three point shooting dependent team, they have struggled against a squad with quick and rangy perimeter defenders who competently contest every long range shot.
The Hawks’ problems lie in lack of depth and a noticeable lack of size. That’s why they can’t keep the bigger, more athletic Cavs off the glass.
Their issue isn’t with Matthew Dellavedova’s two debatable plays that have wrongly been decried as dirty by some NBA fans.
Call them hustle plays by a gritty player, but please don’t refer to them as intentionally dirty by a reckless Bill Laimbeer clone!
Not a star by any means, Dellavedova is the unsung type of player that helps teams win championships. That’s exactly why LeBron James, Iman Shumpert and James Jones were quick to defend the Australian National Team starting point guard and 2012 NCAA West Coast Conference Player-of-the-Year.
Unwittingly now the brunt of Atlanta’s angst, the 6’4″ and 200 lb. Aussie point guard dove to retrieve a loose ball in Game 2 of the series and unintentionally rolled over Hawks all-star guard Kyle Korver, thus knocking him out for the the remainder of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Then, on Sunday night in Game 3, Dellavedova got tangled with another Hawks’ all-star, Al Horford, and fell awkwardly at the center’s legs after tripping over a fallen player. Horford reacted by directing an elbow at Dellie’s head while also lunging at the Cavs’ guard. His foolish reaction earned him a Flagrant 2 foul and an immediate suspension ironically at the end of a brilliant first half performance that gave the Hawks the lead.
The Hawks will more than likely be swept in this series by the surging, superior Cavs squad. NBA Coach-of-the-Year Mike Budenholzer has done a remarkable job changing the culture in Atlanta, while building an outstanding team poised for continued future success.
May his best job this year be how he prepares his team for the certainty of a fourth straight series loss and a professional exit from the playoffs.
“Will they” or “won’t they” retaliate? My 2 cents is absolutely not!
My hope is to see the Atlanta Hawks is to graciously congratulate their victors, even Dellavedova, and return to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals next year.
Straight talk. No static.
This is MIKE!