Quantcast

Utah Jazz: Wesley Matthews magical rookie season continues to grow

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 6:36 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — For Wesley Matthews, just making an NBA roster as an undrafted rookie was an amazing feat.

Earning a starting spot on one of the top teams in the league for a coach notoriously tough on rookies is an even more impressive accomplishment.

But to have that Hall of Fame coach, Jerry Sloan, running offensive plays to get you the ball — as an undrafted rookie — is almost enough to make Matthews feel like this season is a dream.

If it is, though, he doesn't want to wake up just yet.

Matthews, now the Utah Jazz's starting shooting guard, was the No. 1 offensive option on several occasions during the Jazz's 133-107 shellacking of the Houston Rockets on Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

"It's incredible," said Matthews of how his better-than-he-could-have- possibly-imagined first season is going. "It's a testament to all the young kids out there that if you work hard and are ready, good things can happen."

Matthews, like almost the entire Jazz team, had it going on Saturday night. He made 7-of-9 shots from the floor — including one of his two 3-point attempts — to finish with 18 points, just three shy of his personal best.

"You get confidence when your coach is calling plays for you," Matthews said.

The Jazz, playing on the tail end of a back-to-back after losing at Sacramento on Friday night, shot lights out from beyond the arc. Utah made 14 treys in 25 attempts — for 56 percent as a team. It was almost exactly what the Jazz shot on their free throws, making 15 of their 26 chances from the line.

"I guess we need to shoot more threes," joked Sloan, who has always preached that inside shots are better than long-distance ones.

Said Matthews, "We were moving the ball, getting open shots, getting good looks."

For Jazz swingman C.J. Miles, it was a much better shooting night than the last time the Jazz played at home. Miles, who was just 1-for-10 from the floor on Wednesday against the Charlotte Bobcats, went 4- for-5 on Saturday. Combined with his 5-for-6 shooting in the loss to Sacramento on Friday and Miles is 9-for-11 in his past two games.

"Shooting can definitely be contagious," said Miles. "Guys got hot tonight, but we were getting wide open looks. I mean, the guy that was kinda open was passing to the guy that was wide open. Then you have time to shoot a shot and be patient and we've got guys who can make shots."

The Rockets occasionally used a zone defense during the game but when they did, the Jazz consistently hurt them by making open 3-pointers over it.

"Just a very poor defensive effort," said Houston coach Rick Adelman.

"We gave them easy looks and once they got rolling, it was an easy game for them."

e-mail: lojo@desnews.com

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company