Martell Webster lights up Suns

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Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

Martell Webster could only shrug his shoulders a la Michael Jordan. At least, that is until he got to the huddle, where he couldn't help but point his arms at the ground and scream at his teammates.

A moment earlier in the fourth quarter, he'd hit his seventh 3-pointer to become the first Wizards player to score 30 or more points in a game this season. Two possessions later, he passed the ball off Michael Beasley's shoulder, only to recover it and find himself wide open for an unassuming reverse slam.

The last of Webster's career-high 34 points put an exclamation point on the Wizards' best offensive display of the season in a 127-105 blowout of the Phoenix Suns.

Asked how it felt to go 7-for-10 from beyond the arc and get his number called more than usual, Webster summoned the humor that has made him a unique and positive fixture inside the Wizards locker room all season.

"It's what it feels like to be Brad [Beal]," he said. "It's awesome. I love it."

There was plenty of love to go around as the Wizards (23-42) scored their most points of the season in a game, in the first half (66) and a quarter (39 in the second). They knocked down a season-high 14 three-pointers total, matching the third best in franchise history.

They also won their third game in a row before a crowd of 16,882 - their fourth winning streak of at least that length since early January - and improved to 18-17 at home, the first time they've been over .500 at Verizon Center after 35 games for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

The Wizards will embark on a four-game road trip and play 11 of their final 17 games away from the District. But Webster's performance had John Wall (17 points, 11 assists, three steals) looking ahead to the summer, when his teammate, who is averaging a career-high 11.2 points per games and is the second-leading 3-point shooter in the NBA (45.3 percent), will once again be a free agent.

"I already talked to [Wizards owner] Ted [Leonsis] about that one," Wall said. "That's an easy hands down question about trying to get him back here because him being a free agent. There's a lot of people that are going to come after him, especially after the season he had this year and is having."

In the meantime, Webster put himself in the Wizards record book with at least four 3-pointer for the fifth game in a row.

"I would love to be here next year," Webster said. "But this is a business, and we'll see what happens. I'm having an extraordinary time here. The city is great, the fans are great, and my teammates are awesome, freakin' awesome, really freakin' awesome."

The personality masks the work that Webster has put in after two back surgeries in two seasons in Minnesota. He also said he's currently battling an abdominal issue and credited the Wizards training staff for keeping him healthy. Unsure of his playing time when he signed with Washington, he's started 50 of 64 games.

After his performance against the Suns (22-45), who lost their fourth in a row, Webster put on one of his many pairs of Air Jordan shoes and joked about his shrug, that he's not allowed to talk about it or the shoes since the Wizards will next face Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats on the road Monday. As for the play with Beasley, that's just being in the zone.

"It's part of it," Webster said. "I even told Beas, 'I'm going to hit this off your shoulder, I'm going to get it back, and I'm going to do a reverse dunk. Don't screw it up.' I called it."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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Craig Stouffer

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner