Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Wesley Matthews was heartbroken.
The rookie out of Marquette missed two crucial shots in the final seconds of Utah's 111-110 loss to the Lakers in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals on Saturday night. The second miss was the one Matthews will have a hard time forgetting.
The Jazz had the last possession of the game, and Deron Williams took a 23-footer that would have given Utah the win. Williams' shot missed, Matthews crashed the board and missed a tip-in as time expired.
"I thought it was good," said Matthews, who was visibly frustrated as he left the EnergySolutions Arena floor. "I didn't know how much time was left on the clock, so it was a quick tip. I thought I got enough of the ball to put it in the hole."
For a second, it seemed Matthews' tip was going in. It hit a couple of portions of the rim before bouncing out.
"It didn't want to go in, though," Matthews said. "I don't know what I did to it (the ball). I wish I could get that one back."
Matthews missed a shot a few seconds before that could have altered the outcome. With 10.8 seconds left, Matthews attempted a 3-pointer with the Jazz trailing 109-108, and it also hit the rim and came off. Carlos Boozer, however, got the offensive board and missed the putback.
Kobe Bryant rebounded Boozer's miss and was fouled by Matthews. He made two free throws to put the Lakers up 111-108.
Matthews had a good look with his 3-point attempt, but couldn't knock it down. It was a shot his teammates felt comfortable with him taking.
"With the guys we have out there, they're on the floor for a reason," said Jazz forward C.J. Miles. "There's definitely trust to hit open shots. He had a good look; he just missed one."
Matthews' two misses were just two of several plays the Jazz failed to make in crunch time. They missed free throws, had turnovers, and made too many mistakes to beat a team like the defending champs.
No one was pointing any fingers at Matthews after the loss.
"It was just at the time and point in the game, it just hurt us a little bit," Miles said. "But it's a good look, and he's supposed to take that shot. If he doesn't take that shot, then everyone looks at him like why didn't he take the shot. I mean, it was a good shot."
It was an all-around tough game for Matthews. He left the game once after getting hit in the chest, and another time early in the game when he appeared woozy after taking an elbow to the head. His effort was there, as it's been in every other Jazz game this season, but he was off.
Matthews, who said the chest and head shots were not a factor, was hurting more emotionally that physically following Saturday's loss.
"I've played a lot of games of basketball, had a lot of heartbreak, a lot of success," Matthews said. "We fought, we fought, we fought and we had control the whole game."
Matthews shot 0 for 6 from 3-point range and 2 for 11 from the field. He looks to bounce back in Game 4 on Monday.
"We weren't supposed to beat Denver, and we weren't supposed to be where we are now," Matthews said. "We'll see what we're made of. They gotta beat us four times."
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