Wesley Matthews was ready for the moment when it arrived Monday night at Staples Center, embracing it, staying prepared for it, delivering key plays when the Lakers called on him in a time of need against Oklahoma City UFABET.
It simply was a stellar effort by Wesley Matthews, his effort after not seeing any time for 10 days a testament to his professionalism and team-first attitude on this loaded and deep Lakers team.
He had not played in four consecutive games, collecting DNP-CD in the books — did not play, coach’s decision. His last action was against the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 28, a game in which he was only one-for-five shooting from the field and scored just three points.
“No, it didn’t make me second-guess anything,” Matthews said during a videoconference Monday night. “It’s just a matter of time. Since entering this league, nothing has gone according to what I would have dreamed of being an NBA player. So truthfully, a setback or whatever this was, isn’t anything new to me. I’ve had to deal with adversity my whole career.
“It was unfortunate, but at the same time, it’s your job to be professional. It’s your job to stay ready, and I was able to do that with the help of my teammates, with the help of my coaches, help of my family, friends … help of God. Keeping my family and faith, and just staying ready.”
Reserve guard Alex Caruso was out because of a right hand injury, opening the door for Matthews to step into that void on the wing. Anthony Davis was out because of right Achilles tendinosis, providing more minutes for Matthews to collect.
“Exceptional performance by Wes tonight,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said on a videoconference Monday. “You know, that’s the simplest way to prove it. Incredible energy, on both sides of the ball, but in particularly defensively. With AD and Alex being out, we definitely needed his toughness on that side of the ball and he hit some big threes, where we couldn’t throw it in the ocean. So, he was great.”
That started with the game against the Boston Celtics, a game the Lakers won. And they kept winning, with Matthews on the bench at the ready but not playing.
“Just the fact that he’s having them. Just the fact that, it’s never going to be what I want to hear, I want to play every single game. “So, I mean, he knows the conversation isn’t going to be easy. I know the conversation isn’t going to be easy.
But the conversation needs to take place just so that you can get the best out of somebody. Had I not known that I wasn’t going to play, maybe I don’t do what I do pregame and then it doesn’t have the rollover effect of tonight. Conversations can be difficult.
They need to be had and I didn’t love anything he had to say, but your job is to be professional. Your job is to play basketball and cheer on your teammates and be supportive and be a pro. And that’s it. Like Dudz [Jared Dudley] puts it, ‘Be a pro.’”