If the NBA really is concerned about safety, then it will do something about Matthew Dellavedova and do it soon. Because if the guy is allowed to play Australian Rules basketball much longer, he’s sure to touch off a major scrum one day soon.
Dirtyvedova was at it again in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, when the Cleveland Cavaliers spit disturber pulled his favorite stunt — a well-scripted chop block to the knees. This time he took down the Warriors’ Draymond Green while the two jockeyed for rebound position. Green was called for a foul on the play because Dirtyvedova has the low blow down pat, and the referees usually favor the little guy in these instances.
“I was a little angry at what took place,” said Green, whom Dirtyvedova low-bridged in Game 3 without a whistle let alone a fine.
Actually, Green was a lot angry. If teammate Andrew Bogut hadn’t restrained him, he might have been tossed out of the game. And don’t think that Dirtyvedova isn’t aware of the possibility even before the fact.
“I mean, I’m really not going to get into it,” Green went on to say. “It is what it is. The play happened. I thought something went on on the play. But, hey, it is what it is.
“We’ve got one more game, hopefully, to try to close this series out, and that’s my focus. I’m not really going to worry about that play that happened in the second quarter, although I was upset when it happened.”
By that time, Green had already become the latest player to use the D-word to describe Dirtyvedova.
“You know, I’m taking Steph in any matchup,” Green said when asked about the Dellavedova-Stephen Curry matchup, as if there was one. “So he was hounding and physical, dirty — it’s a fine line, whatever you want to call it. He do what he do, but I was going with Steph no matter what, and I’m still rolling with Steph no matter what.”
Or rolling into Steph, as the case may be.
IGGY FLOP: Andre Iguodala was a godawful 2 of 11 at the free throw line, which prompted Hall of Famer Rick Barry to get off the best line of the day.
“I almost wanted to convert Iguodala to the underhanded style right there during the game,” Barry wrote in the San Francisco Examiner.
Maybe Barry is on to something here — Iguodala’s free throw percentage has dropped in four of the last five seasons. If coach David Blatt has a clue left in his head, the Cavaliers won’t wait until the fourth quarter to play Hack-an-Iggy this time.
JUST SAYIN’: Iguodala would have to covert 6,501 consecutive free throws to match Barry’s .900 career free throw percentage. (No, really.)
FREE ADVICE: One-time Warriors star Jamaal Wilkes said this to Balls about his former team tonight: “I’d like to see them close out the series in Cleveland. If you have a chance to finish it in six games, then finish it in six games. You never know what will happen in a Game 7.”
Barry, Wilkes and company learned that painful lesson in the 1976, when an inferior Phoenix Suns team beat them in Games 6 and 7 to capture the Western Conference title.
MORE FREE ADVICE: The City that hasn’t witnessed an NBA title since the George Moscone administration, but these chants of “Pa-rade on Fri-day!” are a bit premature.
Because if ABC and the NBA have their way, there will be a Game on Fri-day instead.
BRING IT ON, BOYS: The 49ers could use a competitive edge, and Balls can’t think of two better guys than Alex Boone and Darnell Dockett to begin the process. The two mixed about as well as raw eggs and vinegar when they played against each other.
“It was kind of awkward,” Dockett admitted the other day. “We passed each other like seven times before we spoke. I asked him if he was retiring. We’re good. We’re on the same page.”
Said Boone, “It’s just like having any other teammate. You squash all the beef that you ever had. Obviously there was a lot there between him and I. It’s just competition. What happens on the field stays on the field. That’s how it has to be. If you take things personal or you take them off the field, then that’s your problem.”
It may be worth a trip to training camp to see this matchup alone.
THE LIST: Cavaliers that Balls would like to come out of retirement to assist LeBron James in the NBA Finals:
World B. Free
YOUR TURN: “Yeah, [Allen] Iverson posterized [Tyronn] Lue with the step-back shot. If I’m not mistaken, though, the Lakers went on to to wipe out the Sixers four straight games, and Lue hoisted the trophy. How silly would it be to refute that? Enjoy reading Balls.” — John Dillon, San Bruno (If it wasn’t practice — practice?! — it didn’t count.)
Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and you may get your name in the paper one day.Alex BooneAndrew BogutCleveland CavaliersDarnell DockettDavid BlattDraymond GreenGeorge MosconeGolden State WarriorsJamaal WilkesLeBron JamesMatthew DellavedovaNBA FinalsRick BarrySan Francisco 49ersStephen Curry