The Bucks have been limiting Wesley Matthews‘ playing time to keep him fresh for the postseason, and the 36-year-old swingman showed Wednesday what his playoff impact might be, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Amid injuries to several teammates, Matthews played 30 minutes against the Bulls, contributing seven points and eight rebounds while frustrating DeMar DeRozan on defense.
Matthews has appeared in just 50 games this season and has logged 15.8 minutes per night, the lowest figure of his career. He hasn’t necessarily endorsed the reduced role, but he’s willing to do whatever coach Mike Budenholzer believes is best for the team.
“It’s tough to manage, but within that, it’s understanding that you can still impact the game and that goes back to what my mom told me, I think probably when I was like four or five years old is that there’s so many ways that you can impact the basketball game,” Matthews said. “Other than my high school time, my high school career, I’ve never been the leading scorer on my team. Could I have done it? Probably. But that wasn’t what was asked of me. It was to win. Help the team win, and by any means necessary.”
There’s more on the Bucks:
- Khris Middleton left Wednesday’s game in the first quarter with soreness in his right knee after appearing to hurt it on a jump shot (video link), Nehm adds. Budenholzer wasn’t able to offer much information on Middleton’s condition, but he called it a “re-aggravation of kind of something that we’ve been working with him on all year.” Middleton has dealt with a variety of ailments that have limited him to 33 games. He missed the first 20 games of the season while recovering from surgery and experienced persistent knee pain around the All-Star break.
- Jrue Holiday is close to wrapping up another bonus, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Holiday will receive a bonus if he averages 7.3 assists per game, and he’s at 7.4 after picking up 15 assists against Chicago.
- With 26 points on Wednesday, Brook Lopez reached the 20-point mark for the 26th time this season, tweets Kane Pittman of ESPN Australia. That matches his total during his first four years with the Bucks as he’s enjoying his best scoring season since 2016/17. Lopez is also among the top contenders for Defensive Player of the Year honors and is in position to land another significant contract at age 35.