Wesley Matthews joined the Los Angeles Lakers with the hope his 3-and-D skills and veteran experience could help them defend their NBA title in the 2020-21 campaign.
But the 34-year-old guard has endured a bumpy start to the season. Despite his reputation as a proven sharpshooter boasting a 38.1% 3-point efficiency throughout his career, Matthews ended the first four games of the season 0-for-8 from downtown.
Also, Matthews appeared to have been still adjusting to head coach Frank Vogel’s intricate defensive schemes which, he acknowledged, surprised him upon arrival in L.A.
But a breakthrough came in the 121-107 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Matthews sank all of his six 3-point attempts on Wednesday night, a feat only two other Lakers have done in the past: Nick Van Exel and Kobe Bryant.
However, the guard did not want to take all the credit for the sudden form eruption and instead praised teammates for their continuous support. “I feel like I can get hot and feel like I should make every shot that I shoot, so I won’t say it’s unusual,” he said.
“I’m definitely grateful for my teammates. Credit to my teammates and coaching staff for being consistently supportive, consistently optimistic. Obviously, I didn’t start the season out shooting the way that I would like to from behind the arc, or just period.
“So to have a game like this feels great but it feels even better to win. I’m grateful for the night and moment.”
Dennis Schroder who, on the contrary, has impressed since his first game wearing the purple and gold, revealed that the team encouraged Matthews to keep taking shots despite his struggles. “Everybody in this locker room is excited for him,” the point guard said. “That’s what’s so great about this group. Everybody tries to build each other up.”
Vogel echoed Schroder’s words and reassured the team was never in doubt of what Matthews had to offer. “We know what he’s done throughout his career,” he said. “He’s a knockdown shooter and great defender. Just excited he’s in a Lakers uniform and what kind of lift he’s going to give us throughout the year.”
James reaches milestone in Spurs win
LeBron James had a night to remember himself following the victory over San Antonio. In addition to celebrating his 36th birthday, the four-time NBA champion became the first-ever player to score at least 10 points in 1,000 consecutive games.
Second-placed James Harden has chalked up 411 consecutive games during which he registered double digits in scoring.
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