Webster's play ignites talk about future with Wizards

Webster's play ignites talk about future with Wizards
March 16, 2013, 11:00 pm
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Webster has big night for the Wizards

Fortunately for the Wizards, they were smart enough to sign Martell Webster before the season.

Unfortunately for the Wizards, his one-year deal for $1.6 million expires soon and they don't have any wiggle room under the salary cap at the moment. 

With a month remaining, Webster is peaking and the Wizards are thriving. He overshadowed the return of Bradley Beal from a left ankle sprain to score 13 points, John Wall’s 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting and 11 assists and Emeka Okafor’s 17 points and 10 rebounds Saturday night.

That’s because Webster set a career-high with 34 points on 10-for-18 shooting in a 127-105 victory vs. the Phoenix Suns.

“Martell had one of those nights where he could've thrown it off the roof and it would've gone in,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “It really is one of those unbelievable feelings. It’s one of those feelings where you’re going like, ‘Wow, what’s going on here?’” I have been in that position before (as a player)… so I drew up every play I could for him because you want to take advantage of that feeling.”

Webster made 7 of 10 three-pointers, making it his fourth consecutive game with at least four made shots from long range.  Webster, who averages 8.8 points per game for his eight-year career, is second in the NBA in three-point shooting at 45.3%. The last time he failed to make a three was Feb. 11.

The progression of Wall, who has been stellar this month, has coincided with the rise of Webster, Beal and Trevor Ariza, who sat out the game because of left knee soreness. Wall wants to make sure Webster, who didn't begin the season as a starter after he signed as a free agent, stays in Washington (23-42).

“I already talked to Ted about that one,” Wall said of Wizards owner Ted Leonsis. “That’s an easy, hands-down question about trying to get him back here. Him being a free agent, a lot of people are going to come after him especially after the season he’s had this year. 

“Coming here, he didn't know if he was going to play right away or how many minutes he was going to get. With a couple injuries, he’s been our starting (small forward) every night.”

Webster was 2-for-4 on three-pointers in the first half as he went into the break with 17 points and the Wizards ahead 66-59. Seven of those came on free throws.

They followed up a 39-point second quarter with 36 in the third. Webster was 4-for-4 on threes as the Wizards shot 14-for-22 overall from the field, or 63.6%.

When Webster hit his seventh three to open the fourth quarter to spot the Wizards a 105-84 lead, all he could do is shrug his shoulders. It was reminiscent of when Michael Jordan’s expression when he led the Chicago Bulls past the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals. In that game, Jordan made 6 of 10 three-pointers in the first half for 35 points en route to his second championship.

The stakes obviously weren't the same, but Webster would've been justified doing it again after making his last basket. He tried to pass and it deflected off the arm of Suns forward Michael Beasley. The ball ended back in Webster’s hands as he was moving towards the basket and threw down a reverse dunk. He could do no wrong.  

“My teammates kept finding me, encouraging me to keep shooting the ball. When you have that backing, it’s easy to shoot. You can put anybody in my position and knock down those shots,” Webster said.

The Wizards have a three-game winning streak and have won their last four games at home. They begin a four-game road trip Monday at the Charlotte Bobcats before heading to the West coast.

Asked about Wall’s remarks that he wants Webster to stick around, the career role player was non-committal.

“I would love to be here next year. But this is a business and we’ll see what happens,” Webster said. “I’m having an extraordinary time here. The city’s great. The fans are great. My teammates are awesome. Freakin’ awesome. Really freakin’ awesome.”

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