Pacers video: Wesley Matthews shuts down Paul George repeatedly during clutch defensive sequence
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Video: Pacers’ Wesley Matthews shuts down Paul George repeatedly during clutch defensive sequence

Wesley Matthews, Pacers

Wesley Matthews is in the midst of playing for his third team during the 2018-19 campaign as a member of the Indiana Pacers. Both of his previous teams — the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks — are playing out the string on their regular-season contests before the offseason.

But now with the Pacers, Matthews finds himself in the thick of a playoff push, checking Oklahoma City Thunder forward (and former Pacer) Paul George:

Matthews has been a key addition on both ends of the floor for an Indiana squad that relies on its smothering defense. As if locking down George, one of the league’s premier scorers, on one end wasn’t enough, Matthews also had the game-winning putback with under two seconds remaining. He finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one crucial defensive stop that not only frustrated Indiana’s former franchise cornerstone, but also moved the club to 27-9 on the year at home.

Never before has Matthews been selected to an All-Defensive team, but he remains one of the ideals when fans and front-office personnel talk about a 3-and-D player. Matthews has averaged 2.5 made triples per game in 13 contests with Indiana, his eighth year in a row that he’s projected to finish the year with at least two made 3-pointers on a nightly basis.

With Victor Oladipo’s injury putting him out for the year, Matthews has stepped in and attempted to help patch the void. Averaging 33.6 minutes per game since his arrival, Matthews has become a key component on both ends of the floor for a Pacers team looking to head back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1999-2000.