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LeBron James: Matthew Dellavedova doesn't deserve 'bad rap'

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James says Matthew Dellavedova doesn’t deserve "bad rap" after Al Horford's ejection.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James defended point guard Matthew Dellavedova against those who think that Dellavedova is a dirty player.

Dellavedova attempted to box out Atlanta Hawks forward Al Horford near the end of the first half of Cleveland’s 114-111 overtime victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, and replays showed Horford pulling Dellavedova’s arms down, causing him to fall over DeMarre Carroll.

Dellavedova ended up crashing into Horford’s legs, and Horford responded by elbowing Dellavedova in the head.

After an official’s review, Horford was given a flagrant 2 foul and immediately ejected, and Dellavedova received a technical foul.

Dellavedova, who scored 17 points in Game 3, was also involved in another play in Game 2 when he and Atlanta guard Kyle Korver went after a loose ball, which led to Korver’s season-ending high right ankle sprain.

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”This is my teammate, and this is a guy that goes out and works his tail off every single night and people are trying to give him a bad rap," James said after the game. "He doesn't deserve it, and I don't like it."

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Horford said that he told referees that Dellavedova went after his legs and didn’t know if it was intentional but took responsibility for throwing the elbow that got him tossed.

“If it was on purpose, we don't know. Maybe it wasn't on purpose. But with just his track record, I just felt like it was,” Horford said.

“Are we going to talk about us trying to win basketball games or about those guys (the Hawks) trying to figure out a way that Matthew Dellavedova is this type of..." James said. "This guy (Dellavedova), he works his tail off every single day. He beats the odds, and he comes to play as hard as he can every single night.”

The Cavaliers will attempt to complete their sweep of the Hawks and reach their first NBA Finals since 2007 in Game 4 on Tuesday.

- Scooby Axson