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Utah Jazz notebook: Wesley Matthews downplays big game vs. Jazz

Published: Friday, Dec. 31 2010 11:22 p.m. MST

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SALT LAKE CITY — Wesley Matthews' 30-point scoring explosion wasn't the only thing Portland coach Nate McMillan liked about his rising star's game Thursday night.

The former Jazzman also received plenty of praise for his defensive efforts against Deron Williams.

Hounded most of the night by Matthews, the All-Star point guard was limited to a subpar (for him, at least) offensive outing with 19 points and eight assists in Portland's 100-89 win at the Rose Garden.

"(Matthews) started out on Williams and had to guard him all night," McMillan said. "So Wesley is not only doing it on the offensive end of the floor, defensively he's doing a good job of containing and making these guys work.."

Matthews, who is wise beyond his 24 years, wasn't about to take all the credit when asked if his familiarity with Williams helped him out.

Wesley Matthews, of the Portland Trail Blazers, had a big game against the Jazz Thursday night. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Wesley Matthews, of the Portland Trail Blazers, had a big game against the Jazz Thursday night. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Matthews admitted he knows D-Will's tendencies, but he said it was the team that won.

"He's a very, very talented player," Matthews added about his old teammate. "I think we were able to get him out of his rhythm, but most of that was probably him."

FANFARE EVERYWHERE: Matthews is the current fan favorite in Portland, no doubt.

The second-year guard received a standing ovation, had his name changed by his Rose Garden supporters and was voted the most dependable player by fans on Thursday, beating ex-Ute Andre Miller and forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

Before the game, however, Matthews reiterated his gratitude for his warm reception in Utah on Monday. He said he had fun chatting back and forth with Jazz fans, who still have a place in his heart.

"The support was great," Matthews said. "I really appreciated it."

RARE LOSS: The Jazz lost Thursday despite outshooting the Blazers 48.4 percent to 45.9 percent. That was the first time in nine games this season that Utah lost on the road — and only the second time in 18 outings overall — when posting a better shooting percentage than its opponent.

HE SAID IT: Sloan on the 22-11 Jazz losing to 17-16 Portland for the second time in four days: "They're probably a little better than we are. We have to accept that."

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