Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova was involved in his third questionable incident of the postseason on Sunday, when he got tangled up with Atlanta’s Al Horford in the first half of Game 3. Horford, who said afterward he thought Dellavedova had dived at his legs, was ejected for striking Dellavedova with his right elbow, while Dellavedova was assessed a technical foul. Cleveland went on to win in overtime, 114-111, to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

In Game 4 of the conference semifinals, Dellavedova leg-whipped Chicago’s Taj Gibson, who responded by kicking Dellavedova. Gibson was ejected. In Game 2 of the Hawks-Cavaliers series, Dellavedova crashed into Kyle Korver’s ankle after diving for a loose ball, ending Korver’s season.

AD
AD

Horford suggested that Korver’s injury may have played a role in him losing his cool on Sunday.

“You’re always upset when you lose one of your teammates,” Horford said. “He’s (Dellavedova) a player that plays hard but there’s got to be a line at some point. He’s got to learn. He’s only been in this league for a couple of years but he’s got to learn that at the end of the day, it’s a big brotherhood here. Guys look out for each other and I don’t think it was malicious but he’s got to learn.”

Dellavedova and teammate LeBron James refuted the notion that he’s a dirty player after the game. On Monday, ESPN analyst Antonio Davis agreed.

“I think he’s reckless,” Davis said. “I don’t think he’s dirty; to me there’s a difference. I don’t think players intentionally go out trying to take someone out. In that play against Kyle Korver, I’m sure he looked back on that play and was like, ‘Oh my God, what have I done?’ because you never want a guy to be hurt and out of a series, out of a game. He’s just reckless, and he has to figure out, ‘I can play hard, but there’s certain situations where I have to be careful at the way that I play.’ I don’t know that he’s going to do that.”

AD

Davis was asked how opposing teams can send a message to a reckless player such as Dellavedova without earning an ejection.

AD

“Every time he comes off a screen, every time he comes to the lane, every time he gets near me, if I’m running at him for the three, I’m knocking him down,” said Davis, who played 13 seasons in the NBA. “He has to know, listen, you can continue to play this way, but you’re going to feel it on the other side too. And be careful, because I may not intentionally do it, but I want you to feel that I was there.”

AD
AD