Admittedly, when Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Wesley Matthews is stroking the basketball as smoothly as he has been lately, coach Rick Carlisle tends to go out of his way to dial up his number more often.
But Carlisle’s not the only person going through his Rolodex with ideas of dialing up Matthews.
“He tends to dial it up himself, too, which is OK,” Carlisle said. “If you’ve got a guy that’s a hot player it’s the responsibility of everybody to find him.
“Guys have been doing a good job of that.”
Never miss a local story.
Not only has Matthews been in a nice little groove lately, but he also has been on fire.
Over the last nine games Matthews has averaged 21.8 points while scoring at least 21 points in six games. That includes scoring a season-high 26 points on Nov. 30 against the San Antonio Spurs, and then matching that point total in three other games since against Chicago, Indiana and Houston.
He tends to dial it up himself, too, which is OK. If you’ve got a guy that’s a hot player it’s the responsibility of everybody to find him.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on Wesley Matthews
In all, this is the best nine-game scoring stretch Matthews has manufactured in his eight-year career.
“I’m just playing basketball, taking the shots that are there and my teammates are finding me,” Matthews said. “I’m staying aggressive and trying to be aggressive on both ends of the court.”
During the nine-game stretch, Matthews is shooting 39.3 percent from the field and has converted 42-of-86 shots from 3-point range (48.8 percent).
It’s safe to say that the offensive surge Matthews is enjoying is in part due to the fact that he’s experiencing an injury-free season. When the Mavs signed Matthews as a free agent in the summer of 2015, he was recovering from an Achilles surgery.
Actually, Matthews never fully recovered from that injury last season. But the tough-minded eight-year veteran withstood the pain and played through it, all in an effort to give what he could in his initial season with the Mavs.
I’m just playing basketball, taking the shots that are there and my teammates are finding me. I’m staying aggressive and trying to be aggressive on both ends of the court.
But this year Matthews is showing what he can do on the offensive end of the floor when he is injury-free. The Mavs (6-18) hopes his scoring spree continues Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. when they host the Detroit Pistons (13-13) at American Airlines Center.
“It feels good, but it doesn’t mean anything if we’re not winning games,” Matthews said of his point production. “I’m just sticking with the process, just continuing to work on my game within practice, outside of practice.
“Everything that I did this summer, I’m just trying to find a way to continue to lead on both ends of the court and in the locker room, and make sure that I’m holding myself accountable so I can hold everybody else [accountable].”
The Mavs obviously needed Matthews to step up his scoring pace because Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles) has missed 19 games and J.J. Barea has missed 15 of the last 17 games.
48.8 3-point percentage (42 of 86) for Wesley Matthews over the past nine games
However, Matthews has proven that he’s not a one-trick pony. Not only has the Marquette product been a terror on offense, but he has also been able to maintain his pit bull mentality on defense while being more than eager to defend the opponent’s best perimeter scorer.
“He’s playing well at both ends, and when we’re getting stops it allows him to get in transition and get some quality looks,” Carlisle said. “When we’re struggling and turning the ball over and not moving it well and not screening well, that’s a recipe for everyone struggling.
“Wes’ good play is a function of the fact that he has been working his butt off really for the last two summers and the beginning part of this year, and also he’s leading our team and he’s one of the guys that’s getting our guys to play hard. He keeps slugging away.”
Overall, Matthews is averaging 16.5 points and is 33rd in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 40.1 percent.
“My teammates are finding me and I’m getting good looks,” Matthews said. “I put a lot of emphasis this year on working hard on my shot after practice.
“I’m a product of energy. And when we are playing the right way and we are locked in I feel like I can knock down shots.”
Mavericks vs. Pistons
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, FSSW