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From free agent to starter, Matthews finding place on team

From free agent to starter, Matthews finding place on team



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Right before the end of the first half, rookie Wesley Matthews drained a three pointer to push the Jazz lead back up to 13. Not only was the shot a huge momentum push for the Jazz, it may have solidified his spot on the Jazz roster.

Matthews scored a career high 18 points as the Jazz won their fourth in a row, 96-87 over the Indiana Pacers Friday.

While Matthews looked impressive on the offensive end of the floor, scoring 16 of his 18 points in the first half, it was his defense that drew praise from Head Coach Jerry Sloan. "He's not afraid to stick his nose in, stick his chest in and try and guard guys," Sloan said. "That's the way you're supposed to play defense."

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After the Jazz got off to a slow start this season, Coach Sloan inserted Matthews into the starting lineup Nov. 13 against Philadelphia. The Jazz have won eight of the ten games since.

"I didn't know what to expect, but I knew that I could control myself, and that's my effort, my energy and that's my toughness," Matthews said.

Over the last five games Matthews has been solid, averaging 11 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal. "I knew that I had to work hard, and improve myself and continue to play to make this team better."

Wesley, an undrafted free agent from Marquette, is playing hard to prove his worth to the team. "As a basketball player, to be successful you have to play with a chip on your shoulder," Matthews told reporters.

Average of Last 5 Games
Points10.6
Rebounds3
Steals0.8
Assists1.8
Minutes28.8
Field Goal Percentage55.9%

As for not being drafted, "that chip just got a little bit bigger."

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