The key to having a solid career in the NBA is to not let the highs get too high and the lows get too low. Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews is living proof of this mantra after experiencing both ends of the spectrum in a span of about 48 hours.
Matthews, who’s still working his way back from Achilles surgery, sat at his locker severely disappointed in himself due to going 1-of-9 from the floor, including 1-of-8 from three-point range, in Friday’s 100-96 loss to the Houston Rockets. He had nothing but harsh criticism while addressing the media about his performances of late.
“I’m just tired of hurting the team, tired of missing shots,” Matthews said after Friday night’s game. “Point blank, period, I suck right now on the offensive end as far as shooting the ball, as far as what I can do, as far as making shots and what everybody knows I can do. I’ve got to find it on this road trip and sustain it.”
Despite his poor play, every teammate who was asked about Matthews had supreme confidence he could regain the form he’s had for most of his seven-year career in the Association. Sensing Matthews’s confidence was getting low, longtime teammate Deron Williams added, “If you get too negative and put too much pressure on yourself, then it can start playing tricks on you. I’m just going to keep trying to stay positive with him, and the shots will fall.”
Fortunately for Williams and the Mavericks (12-9), he was spot on with his assessment, as the $70 million shooting guard turned things around in Sunday night’s game against the Washington Wizards (8-10).
The struggling Matthews broke out of his slump by scoring a career-high 36 points while going 12-of-23 from the field and also setting a new career-best mark by going 10-of-17 from behind the three-point arc.
When the dust settled, Matthews’s career game helped lead the Mavericks to a much-needed 116-104 road victory over the Wizards, and he also tied former Maverick George McCloud for the most three-pointers made in a game in franchise history:
“It felt good,” Matthews said via Mavs.com. “You know, my teammates were finding me, and it’s one of those nights where the same shots I’ve been shooting were falling tonight. They kept finding me, and I kept letting it fly.”
The 10 three-balls Matthews made against the Wizards equaled his entire output from the land of three over the last five games, in which he went 10-of-39 from beyond the arc:
“We were all excited for him,” Dirk Nowitzki said via Mavs.com. “You know, he’s a guy that really endlessly works for the team. He always has to guard the best offensive player on the other team. And you’re just happy for a guy like that, that puts the team first and works so hard. He just hasn’t been able to break through with his shooting, but he was on a roll tonight.”
If Matthews can continue building upon his performance against the New York Knicks on Monday, maybe he can finally develop into that second consistent core guy the Mavericks need behind an aging Nowitzki.