The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. A close game late in the third quarter turned into a Warriors rout after one particular play—when Cavs point guard Matthew Dellavedova's fouled Warriors forward Andre Iguodala with a blow to the groin.
With seconds ticking down in the third quarter, Dellavedova lost control of the ball. Iguodala picked it up and started dribbling up court. Delly gave chase and reached around from behind to try to strip the ball. Unfortunately, he missed the ball and struck Iguodala below the belt.
After an extensive review, the referees ruled it a common foul, setting off a debate among fans and analysts about whether it was intentional. These two players have had a rough past, full of questionable plays, which could influence the outcome of the debate. Was it a dirty play or an inadvertent hit?
The history started in February 2015. The Cavs were at home, and Iguodala had the ball on a fast break. Dellavedova picked him up on defense, which turned out to be a poor decision. Iggy crossed Delly and absolutely embarrassed him. The Cavs' backup point guard's feet got stuck and he flopped to the court like a fish.
Although this was not a dirty play, it could have lit a fire in Dellavedova that burned through additional controversial plays to come.
The next two incidents happened on Christmas Day 2015. With three minutes left in the second quarter, Iguodala had Delly pinned for a backdown but dropped the inbound pass. Delly scrambled for the ball, going into Iggy's legs, and triggered a Cavs fast break.
In the video below, you can see that Iggy was unhappy with Delly's aggressive pursuit of the ball, and he makes sure Delly knows it by pushing an elbow into his face. The elbow clearly looks intentional.
These two have history https://t.co/hCHRH32Bsx
— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) June 3, 2016
Later, the Cavs were down late in the fourth with LeBron James at the free throw line. The strategy was for Delly to foul Iguodala, a relatively poor free-throw shooter, and deprive the Warriors of an offensive possession. But instead of just wrapping Iggy up, Delly jumped on his back, which seemed excessive. Obviously, Iggy didn't appreciate the foul.
You can see how these two players have built up some animosity. The previous incidents could have led Delly to hit Iggy in the privates, or he honestly could have just been trying to strip the ball.
We have a feeling this won't be the last tango between these two fierce competitors in this series. What do you think?
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