When guard Wesley Matthews suffered a season-ending torn Achilles' tendon last Thursday, the Blazers were struck by the loss of one of the NBA's best two-way guards and a key player in their plans of competing for a championship. While the newly acquired Arron Afflalo should serve as a decent replacement in the starting lineup, there's simply no way that Portland will be able to make up for Matthews' production and meaning to the club.
Even if he's out, though, Matthews apparently still plans on suiting up for the Blazers. The 28-year-old underwent surgery on his Achilles' on Wednesday before the team's home game against the Houston Rockets. Matthews watched the contest from home, but he didn't settle for street clothes. As this Instagram post shows, he donned his uniform:
Successful surgery now time for the second half. #gameday #ripcity #arrowlife
Matthews obviously isn't going to play for the Blazers again this season, but this is a pretty impressive display of support by a guy who could easily have wallowed in the sorrows of spending the next few months on the sidelines. It could also serve as an indication that the pending unrestricted free agent sees himself in Portland long term and hopes to be back in black and red in 2015-16.
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We don't know if Matthews' teammates were aware of his show of support, but they performed quite well regardless in the Blazers' 105-100 win over the Rockets, their closest competition for seeding in the West. The Blazers led by 11 with four minutes on the clock but saw veteran wing Corey Brewer score 17 of his 23 points over the rest of the game to get the visitors back into it. This graph of Brewer's scoring over the course of the game says it all:
Chart: Rockets' Corey Brewer's 23 points vs. Blazers, by minute of the game pic.twitter.com/ybMHSrQIVz
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) March 12, 2015
Brewer's hot streak ended with seven seconds remaining, when he missed a potential game-tying three-pointer with the Blazers up 103-100. All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge led the way for the winners with 26 points (12-of-20 FG) and 14 rebounds while Houston's MVP candidate, James Harden, saw relative struggles with 18 points on 7-of-19 shooting.
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