Wizards learn value of 'hockey assist'

Wizards learn value of 'hockey assist'
March 18, 2013, 8:00 am
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Webster has big night for the Wizards

Instead of basking too much in the glow of his career performance, Martell Webster shifted the spotlight on the Wizards’ biggest star as if he needed more attention.

"I really saw a glimpse of greatness," Webster said of making seven three-pointers and finishing with 34 points vs. the Phoenix Suns on Saturday. "It doesn't necessarily have to deal with performance. It had to do with understanding that we gave a lead up and he took us and put us on his back, was able to find guys, was able to score.

"He was talking, was able to get steals and that all-around game I think is what got us back into the game. We fed off of his energy."

Webster, of course, was referring to point guard John Wall, who had 17 points and 11 assists. The Wizards trailed 29-27 entering the second quarter and Wall took control. They won 127-105, scoring a season-high in points.

Although the Wizards have been short-handed without Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and A.J. Price in recent games, their scoring hasn't suffered. In fact, they’re averaging 109.6 points per game in their last three, all victories, going into Monday’s game at the Charlotte Bobcats (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).

Webster is among the top three in the NBA in three-point accuracy, shooting a career-high 45.3% entering Monday. Signing him to a one-year deal as a free agent has proven to be a brilliant move by Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld. The chemistry with Wall keeps getting better.

"You want an open shot, you got to run. It’s simple,” Webster said of playing with Wall. "That’s what Ernie told me when I got here. ‘Listen, when John gets the ball, run. You may not get the shot, but run. He’ll see you.’ And he does."

The unselfish play has gotten contagious. The Wizards had 30 assists vs. Phoenix. Coach Randy Wittman credits Wall for continuing to push the pace, even after made baskets. 

Webster credits Wall for not trying to do too much, and the ball movement in general has been excellent. It's being worked from side-to-side and inside-out to stretch defenses. That results in buckets, and the Wizards had six players in double figures in the last game led by Webster.

"Some people want to pull in a Ferrari. Other people don’t mind driving a Honda. There’s going to be nights where the game presents itself where you may be able to be a bit more flashy," Webster said. "The most important thing is are you going to accept keeping it simple, accept that you may have to deal with the hockey assist? A lot of time with the young guys they want to make the flashy A-to-Z pass…. If you assist guys with the hockey assist that’s just as important. When you can accept that, that’s when teams flourish."