Charles Barkley told Bleacher Report Radio on June 8 Stephen Curry will get the better of Matthew Dellavedova in the 2015 NBA Finals.
Apparently, Charles Barkley is not sold on Matthew Dellavedova.
Barkley told Bleacher Report Radio (via CBS Sports' James Herbert) on June 8 he sees Golden State Warriors point guard and 2014-15 NBA MVP Stephen Curry eventually having his way with Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova in the ongoing 2015 NBA Finals:
"I think people need to slow down giving him so much credit. Steph Curry will kill that kid in the overall scheme of things. He just didn't make shots last night, and I think everybody needs to slow their roll talking about him. Steph Curry just missed some shots.
"This notion that he stopped him is just ridiculous. When you're a jump shooter, you have good days, you have bad days. And Steph had a bad day last night. But listen, Dellavedova wasn't the reason he was missing shots."
Despite scoring 19 points in a 95-93 overtime loss in Game 2 on June 7, Curry shot just 5 of 23 from the field, including 2 of 15 from three-point distance. He also had six turnovers, per CBS Sports.
Dellavedova defended Curry for the most part in the absence of injured All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. Barkley did give Dellavedova some credit for guarding Curry. He also disagreed with the notion that the Cavaliers guard is a dirty player in the Bleacher Report Radio interview, per Herbert.
For his part, Dellavedova told The Northeast Ohio Media Group's Chris Fedor on June 9 he will just stick to his hard-nosed approach on defense when trying to stymie Curry:
"He's going to be aggressive like he usually is. He's a great player and can get off his shot whenever he wants to. Just try to make it as hard as possible, and if he knocks a couple down just keep playing and not get discouraged by it."
Dellavedova also said he's not paying any attention to the media dubbing him as the "Curry Stopper." The spunky Cavs guard told Fedor that Curry is different from all the other superstars he's ever had to defend:
"I don't read or watch that stuff because you could be praising us one day and the opposite the next, so I don't think anyone really pays attention to that stuff. I don't think they would be, either. At this point of the season you don't need bulletin board material. It's The Finals.
"Those guys are more penetrators than Steph. He's a penetrator as well, but really it's the threat of his shot and shooting ability. It's a different cover.
"I think it's something that has kind of developed as the playoffs have gone on. Just trying to make it hard on him."
According to Fedor, the Cavaliers arrived from their West Coast trip in Cleveland at 6 a.m. ET on Monday. Delladova said he's up to the task of defending Curry and playing his best despite minimal rest:
"I think playing at Finals intensity is obviously tough for any kind of minutes, but you want to be in good shape and I think I'm in pretty good shape right now. Just try to do all the little things to take care of your body."
Dellavedova and Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown go a long way back. The former is from Maryborough, Australia, just an hour away from where Brown's wife lived as a youngster. Brown, who coached in Australia's National Basketball League (NBL), eventually coached Dellavedova in the 2012 Olympics in London, per The Philadelphia Daily News' Bob Cooney.
Brown didn't mince words when he spoke about Dellavedova's evolution as a basketball player, per Cooney:
"The first time I saw him was in 2009 and, I don't mean this as an insult at all, but he had this Neanderthal approach an ass-kicker. He was (Jack) Dempsey in a ring, not (Muhammad) Ali. A street fighter and a gritty one and it wasn't pretty.
"He certainly never boasted extreme athleticism. When you saw him in his young ages, you had an immediate attraction to his toughness and a curiousity and uncertainty about where he would end up.
"I coached him in 2009 and brought him in in 2010 for a tryout for World Championships in Istanbul and had to cut him. To this day, he's the single most difficult person I had to cut, and I have cut many, many players."
"It's more than that, there's a technical side and a studied side that all collide under the roof of toughness to produce a gifted and elite defender. Look at him move his feet and contest Steph Curry at the end of the game.
"He shows his hands to the refs and uses his chest better than any player I'v seen. There is such a grittiness that when he does get switched out, he can swim somebody and front them and keep using his backside and arms to bother bigger players. It's just a wonderful story."
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