I wrote on Monday that I would have a gametape breakdown today and that "the results will almost certainly be better" than the putrid tape against the New Orleans Hornets. Thanks to Blazers guard Wesley Matthews and his career-high 30 points last night, I get to be a man of my word today.
Let's take a look at all 30 of Matthews' points providing some play-by-play analysis and notes along the way. Buckle up. Watching it back today was even more entertaining than living it live last night.
Back in September, I wrote at length about Portland's improved perimeter versatility. Roy's uncertain health has limited that versatility, but in his first start of the season Matthews delivered on that talk in a big way.
Here's the video. Sorry for the rough cuts. Scroll down for the play by play description and analysis.
Play One: Matthews layup in transition (2 points) -- 10 minute mark, first quarter
LaMarcus Aldridge blocks a Marc Gasol layup attempt and the ball gets out quickly to Matthews, who runs a one-man fast break, much to Memphis's surprise. Matthews is not known as a leaper or a super finesse ballplayer, so his presence in the open court can be deceiving to defenders. He's not the first guy you expect to put people on posters. That deceptiveness, combined with a really lazy defensive attempt by Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, who just sort of waves at him as he goes to the basket, makes Matthews' first basket an easy one, despite some klutziness on the landing. This would be an early sign of things to come.
Play Two: Matthews three (5 points) -- 2 minute mark, first quarter
Play Three: Matthews three (8 points) -- 1 minute mark, first quarter
Play Four: Matthews three (11 points) -- 11 minute mark, second quarter
Play Five: Matthews layup in transition (13 points) -- 9 minute mark, second quarter
Play Six: Matthews two foul shots (15 points) -- 4 minute mark, second quarter
Play Seven: Matthews three (18 points) -- 3 minute mark, second quarter
Play Eight: Matthews three (21 points) -- 2 minute mark, second quarter
Play Nine: Matthews free throw (22 points) -- 1 minute mark, second quarter
Play Ten: Matthews drive (24 points) -- 8 minute mark, third quarter
After a few seconds of thought, Miller turns the possession over to Matthews, who finds himself in isolation on the wing against Conley. He makes the simplest of moves driving to his strong hand, it's not particularly explosive, but it leaves Conley in the dust on the perimeter. Mayo tries to come all the way from the weakside to contest the shot at the rim, but Matthews nimbly adjusts his flight in mid-air to finish a circus layup with his left hand. This was a bit of a jaw-dropper because Matthews isn't known as a raw athlete.
Play Eleven: Matthews cut (26 points) -- 9 minute mark, fourth quarter
Play Twelve: Matthews dunk in transition (28 points) -- 7 minute mark, fourth quarter
Play Thirteen: Matthews pull up jumper (30 points) -- 9 minute mark, fourth quarter
In case you were wondering, the last time Brandon Roy scored 30+ points was on March 11, which was the only time dating back to January 13 that Roy had notched 30 or more points. While Matthews is far, far away from Roy as an offensive player, his game last night was special, in part, because it's been a long time since we've seen such an electric performance from a Blazers guard.
To tally it up: Matthews had 15 points on threes, 9 points in transition and 6 points in the halfcourt offense. He scored by knockdown shooting, by shooting after spacing the floor, by driving, by cutting, by pulling up, by dunking, by laying up in transition and by getting fouled in transition. That is offensive versatility defined.
Matthews' all-around brilliant performance last night came about because of a combination of factors: everything was clicking for him, he was the recipient of numerous quality passes from his fellow guards and screens by his big men, and because Memphis's defense was lazy, slow to adjust and lost, making his life a lot easier.
While this kind of performance isn't likely to occur on a regular basis, Matthews has established a new offensive ceiling for himself, which should serve to bolster his confidence and provide a measure of stability if Roy continues to miss time.
This was a breakout performance to remember.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter