Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue defended Matthew Dellavedova amid suggestions the guard is "dirty".
The Australian hit the Golden State Warriors' Andre Iguodala in the groin during the Cavs' loss in game one of the NBA Finals.
Iguodala was unwilling to criticise Dellavedova, but said some players had to "get a little dirty" on court.
Speaking ahead of Sunday's game two, Lue was surprised by suggestions the 25-year-old was dirty.
"I don't believe it. I mean, some other guys have been doing way worse things than Delly has," he told a news conference.
"I just see a guy who plays hard, who's tough, hard-nosed, and that's the way the game should be played."
Lue added: "I wouldn't say Delly was dirty."
Dellavedova and the Cavs are looking for a response in game two at Oracle Arena, wanting to avoid a 2-0 series deficit.
Lue said the challenge for Dellavedova was guarding bigger opponents, but he has been happy with the guard's contribution.
"When Delly plays, they put a big guy on him. They put Iguodala on him, they put [Shaun] Livingston on him to try to speed him up," he said.
"I told Delly to just slow down, run the offense. And I know when bigger guys try to defend you, it is tough. Because I was a smaller guard and they put bigger guys on me, and it was tough.
"But Delly's been great. You're going to get fight from Delly. Defensively, he's going to be great.
"And, you know, with his minutes being 10, 11, 12 minutes, it's really not a lot of time to get into a great flow, but Delly's been great."