After starting the exhibition season with two straight losses, the Portland Trail Blazers have won four games in a row. Even though the Blazers have not played a game with all five starters on the court yet, when they have played, they have performed well. The one exception to this is Wesley Matthews.
In five exhibition games (he sat out the Oct.18th game against the Clippers), Matthews has made 9 of 34 shots for a field goal percentage of 27. From the three point arc, he has only made 5 of 17 shots (29 percent). In the Oct. 16th game against the Jazz, he did have a decent all-around game with 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists in 34 minutes of play, but he only shot 3 of 11 from the floor.
Matthews is a streaky shooter, and when he gets hot, he can shoot the lights out from beyond the arc. In exhibition play, however, he has not been able to find a rhythm in any game so far. The Blazers need Matthews to shoot well from three to spread out the floor more. This will keep his defender from “cheating” into the lane, or from doubling up on other players.
For the first time this season, the Blazers will have all of their starters on the floor together, on Thursday, Oct 24th, at Golden State. I am hoping that Matthews uses this game to bust out of his shooting slump and ride a hot hand into the regular season.