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Garrison Mathews’ confidence on the pitch began on the football pitch

On Wednesday night, the Houston Rockets finally ended their 15-game losing streak by beating the Chicago Bulls 118-113. As the banners fell from the rafters, reserve guard Garrison Mathews remained on the pitch and received all the cheers from his teammates and fans.

Mathews’ heroism at the end of the fourth quarter helped Houston seal their second victory. With 25.5 seconds left, Mathews floated around the corner and received a assist from Christian Wood. Without hesitation, he hit the shot to give the Rockets a four-point lead. His teammates and coaches were as excited as he was at a celebration, with the Bulls calling for a time out.

“When you have shooters on the ground. it’s a big difference to how they come together on defense, ”said Mathews, who scored five of the last seven points in the game.

After being called up by the Rockets from their G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (RGV), Mathews was ready and available whenever coach Silas inserted him into the game.

He will see his playing time increase due to the hamstring injury suffered by rookie Jalen Green in the first quarter of Wednesday’s game. This will keep it out for at least a week.

The Rockets coaching staff know Mathews is a dangerous shooter. Yet it was his defense that won over his teammates. His ability to pull charges to give the Rockets additional possession stands out in the film. It even impressed teammate Jae’Sean Tate, who is known to do the dirty work on the Houston defense.

“He’s giving me my money’s worth,” Tate said after training when told Mathews was leading the team in the charges taken this season. “His energy and his efforts with which he played; I am happy for him. A guy who joined a team a few weeks ago and found his role and succeeded in it. “

This success hasn’t always been easy for the dual-sport Tennessee native who dreamed of playing in the NFL growing up. The former high school wide receiver / tight end has focused solely on basketball after receiving a scholarship to Lipscomb University.

His hard work and dedication paid off when he led the Bisons to the NCAA tournament in his freshman year, which was a first for the college. Mathews continued in his final year with a runner-up at NIT 2019. He was voted Atlantic Sun Player of the Year.

Mathews, 24, was not drafted but landed a two-part contract with the Washington Wizards. When released at the end of the 2021 season, Mathews signed with the Boston Celtics, who relinquished him at the end of training camp. The Rockets signed him in October.

“He’s a good shot, he’s up front in defense, he’s in the right place on defense and he has a necessary tenacity for our squad,” said Rockets head coach Stephen Silas.

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