Rockets vs Cavaliers Dud #1: Garrison Mathews
The emergence of Garrison Mathews was a large reason for the Rockets' sudden surge. In a pinch, the Rockets ditched their dual-big lineups and inserted more shooting into their starting lineup. The result was a seven-game winning streak, but it came at a cost.
The Rockets’ turbocharging their offense came at the cost of their defense. The trade-off has been worth it, but when Mathews is cold from behind the arc, it can lead to results like the one that happened Wednesday night.
Mathews scored one point. He missed all six of his shots and went one of two from the free throw line. If Mathews isn’t hitting his shots he is a non-factor at the NBA level.
This is best illustrated by his game worst plus/minus of -30 points. The nicest thing one could say about Mathews performance is that when he got beat on defense he made them earn it, as he picked up four fouls in 28 minutes of action.
All shooters have games like this, and it was compounded by the Rockets' other noticeable absentees. Mathews after putting in stud-level performances had himself a serious dud, but expect it to continue.