Andre Igoudala came streaking down the court ready to make a play late in Game 1 before a defender swiped from behind at the ball. It was Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova, and he didn’t quite hit the ball. Delly completed a full hack at Igoudala’s groin area.
Igoudala took exception to the play and quickly confronted Dellavedova, but instead of letting it lead to a fight or a distraction, he used it to fuel himself to help the Warriors win the game.
Whether there was intent was unclear, but after the game ESPN asked Igoudala what he thought about the incident:
I’m not going to judge or say anything negative about him. He’s out there competing. There are a lot of emotions going on out there. I respect a lot of guys’ hustle in this league. You’ve got guys who’ve got to get a little dirty, got to be a little physical, to make a life and to feed their family, so I can only respect that. For me, it’s just keeping my composure and continue to try to do things for my team to help us win.
Dellevadova has a bit of a reputation, stemming back to last year’s NBA Finals between these two teams, where he was kicked and tripped Steph Curry in an effort to throw him off his game. It failed, and eventually the Cavs lost to the Warriors in a hard fought six-game series.
What raised the biggest question mark about the intent wasn’t necessarily the foul itself, but the reaction from the players. In the short huddle filled with pushing, arguing, and waiting on the officials’ review of the play, it could’ve easily been taken as an intentional shot in the minds of the Golden State players.
Senior Vice President of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia also chimed in to ESPN regarding the play:
Listen, when you look at it, this was really a legitimate basketball play. He does reach in. He fouls him on the elbow and then his hand sort of glances off the elbow and goes down. Iggy’s movement’s going forward, you have some slight contact to the upper leg, groin area, but at the end of the review, the officials said this was not unnecessary. It wasn’t unsportsmanlike. Therefore, they just ruled it a common defensive foul.
What was a blip in the night led to a furious 28-5 run for the Warriors on their way to a 104-89 win in Game 1.
Game 2 is on Sunday, June 5th at 8 pm EST.
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