Following the Dallas Mavericks 100-96 loss to the visiting Houston Rockets on Friday evening, the locker room was dangerously sullen. With an avoirdupois that is usually only reserved for players who have experienced a severe setback (and/or injury), Wesley Matthews walked into the locker room and slightly bowed his head as lingering drops of shower water fell from his body and was quickly evaporated by both the navy blue towel covering Matthews and the carpet donning the Mavericks logo beneath his feet. For reporters, this sight was inscrutable since it fell somewhere out of our jurisdiction. Wes was clearly lost in his own thoughts, vividly beating himself up from the inside out.
“I’m tired of hurting my team,” Matthews expressed with a shocking projection of cheerlessness in his baritone tone. “I’m tired of missing shots. I put everything I have into this game; I have since I’ve started playing. I put everything I had to into getting back and being ready. I’m just trying to keep doubt out.”
The young shooting guard, who had suffered an excruciating ruptured Achilles tendon injury last March, was given a four-year, $70 million dollar contract by the Mavericks over the summer and has spent a great deal of time working on getting back to his former self on the offensive end of the floor. As of late, his field goal percentage has dropped to 34.2 percent from a career norm of 43.9 percent while his 38.9 percent from the 3-point distance has dropped to 30.8 percent.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle doesn’t feel the need to panic over Matthews’ shot just yet. “He’s just got to stay the course with it,” Carlisle said during the post game presser. “The shots are on-line and are hitting the back rim predominately. That just means he’s just got to stay with it.”
“I suck right now,” Matthews stated. “Point-blank, period. On the offensive end as far as shooting the ball as far as what I can do, as for as making shots and what everybody knows that I can do.”
Matthews was 1-for-9 from the field for the Mavericks and 1-of-8 from beyond the arc, but in all honesty, Wes shouldn’t be taking the blame for the loss despite his numbers Friday night. On the defensive end, Matthews held James Harden to 11 points in three and a half quarters of play (Harden exploded after and finished the game with 25 points). However, it was the 17 turnovers the Mavs committed that was their end game.
Wes, still in castigating mode, couldn’t see beyond his own apparent mistakes and placed the all the weight of the loss on his broad shoulders. With doleful “someone kicked my puppy” eyes, Matthews lowered his head as he took long pauses between answers. “I’ve never been one to be hesitant and to lack confidence,” he said, the sadness overpowering his towering and quietly brilliant persona as he hunched over in his chair.
The Mavericks head on the road to face the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center on Sunday.