Wesley Matthews helped the Lakers secure an overtime win over the Thunder Monday night in a rare high point of a frustrating season, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. After not playing at all for 10 days, Matthews got an opportunity due to any injury to Alex Caruso and responded with 16 points. His time with L.A. hasn’t gone the way he expected after signing as a free agent during the offseason, but he doesn’t regret the decision.
“No, it didn’t make me second-guess anything,” Matthews said. “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. … It was unfortunate, but at the same time, it’s your job to be professional. It’s your job to stay ready.”
At age 34, Matthews is adjusting to a new role after being a starter for most of his career, including 67 games with the Bucks last season. He said he appreciates coach Frank Vogel’s honest approach when he decided to trim the rotation.
“He knows the conversation isn’t going to be easy. I know the conversation isn’t going to be easy,” Matthews said. “But the conversation needs to take place just so that you can get the best out of somebody. … 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.”
There’s more on the Lakers:
- LeBron James said it was “very inspiring” to watch Tom Brady win a seventh Super Bowl at age 43, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. James, who is sometimes compared to Brady for their ability to remain productive past normal retirement age, has no time frame in mind for ending his career. “I don’t know how long I’m going to play the game,” James said. “I don’t know how much more I’ll be able to give to the game. The way I feel right now, we’ll see what happens. But I have no timetable on it. I have no year of, ‘OK, do I want to play until 30-this or 40-that?’ The game will let me know when it’s time, and we’ll figure it out then.”
- Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times examines the reasons for James’ longevity and finds it’s a combination of three factors — continuing to improve his skills, remaining committed to health, and fitness and mastering the mental part of the game.
- Dennis Schroder knew he had to take on a complementary role to James and Anthony Davis when he was traded to the Lakers, Turner writes in a separate story. Schroder adapted right away and has become the third-leading scorer on the team at 14.4 PPG. “I play with the two best players in the world,” he said. “So, for me, I try to adjust to this group, to them, it’s big time. I think I just got to be more aggressive taking the right shots and putting them in good position to score and play a lot faster.”