Webster's defense fuels offensive outburst

Webster's defense fuels offensive outburst
December 17, 2013, 12:00 pm
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NEW YORK -- With Bradley Beal starting again, Martell Webster goes back to his familiar role as a sixth man off the bench. And he responded by scoring 30 of the Wizards' 36 points in Monday's thriller vs. the New York Knicks.

But Webster was dismissive about his offense, though without it the Wizards wouldn't have been in position to win. Webster made 9 of 13 shots, including 6 of 8 three-pointers. When John Wall went cold in the third quarter and Bradley Beal had yet to heat up, it was Webster who provided the offensive punch. Eleven of his points came in the third as the Wizards (10-13) blew a 15-point lead but stayed close at a 77-75 deficit to enter the fourth.

He hit mid-range jumpers, got to the foul line seven times, drew J.R. Smith with pump fakes, finished through contact and got to the rim. Webster also grabbed five rebounds and had three assists. Only Marcin Gortat played more minutes with 39. 

"Doesn't matter where I play, starting or coming off the bench, I'm comfortable regardless. The big thing for me is not caring, and I don't care at all about the offensive end. I don't," Webster said. "I can shoot the ball without any pressure. That's the most important thing for me. As long as I can get myself into the game defensively it allows me to come down and put myself in a rhythm offensively. I'm not really worried about the offensive end.

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"I told John, Garrett (Temple), Brad, 'Run the show. If you get in trouble I'll be out on the perimeter. You know where to find me.'"

This is when the Wizards are at their best, when multiple players share the load at different points of the game. It also takes the pressure off Trevor Ariza, who had 10 points vs. the Knicks, to have to score too much when he has assignments to defend the likes of Carmelo Anthony.

And when asking yourself why the Wizards re-signed Webster at the full veteran mid-level exception of four years for $22 million, refer to these comments again and again. It's about chemistry and what he brings to the locker room, an attitude they want to be contagious, as much as Webster's scoring. 

Starting meant more to Ariza, who came off the bench while Webster started to end last season. Ariza made a point to remind anyone who'd listen that he really was a starter.

Webster is more of a chameleon. He's that glue player who will be whatever the Wizards want him to be, and every successful team has one.