Martell Webster’s shooting has Wizards playing at the right clip


“Coach gives my shooting a ‘thumbs up!'” (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

With the way the Washington Wizards shot during Friday’s 96-87 win against the New Orleans Hornets, it had Coach Randy Wittman invoking the names a basketball legend and an unorthodox golfer Jim Furyk in his postgame comments.

“Everybody’s shot is different. Larry Bird didn’t have the picture-perfect shot but he shot it the same way every time,” Wittman said. “Jim Furyk has the ugliest golf swing in America, but it’s the same one over and over again. That’s why he’s good.”

While it was John Wall’s sharpshooting (season-high 29 points and a career-high three three-pointers) that inspired Wittman’s interesting choice of analogy, when it comes to consistent shooting, Martell Webster has been the key for the Wizards.

En route to 18 points on Friday, Webster knocked down four three-pointers, the fourth straight game in which he’s hit at least four shots from behind the arc. Entering the contest, Webster sat as the NBA’s fourth-most efficient three-point shooter at 44.7 percent  and was averaging 11.1 points per game.

“Martell’s been pretty consistent all year long. Pace helps him. When John is pushing the ball and puts pressure, teams collapse,” Wittman said. “Martell’s getting kickouts (because) John sees the floor very well. … Martell’s really had a solid year for us and given us a big boost at that spot.”

In Webster’s eyes, Friday marked one of his off shooting nights, what with him needing 11 three-point attempts to knock down four Wall “shot better than me,” he said. But during a first quarter that saw New Orleans shoot 60 percent and jump out to an early lead, it was Webster’s shooting that kept the Wizards within reach.

Webster scored nine of his 11 first-quarter points on three-pointers, with Wall providing the assists on drives into the lane.

Good shooting “is vital. It’s not everything; defense for us is one of the things we pride ourselves on, but when we have everybody shooting the rock at a high clip, it makes our jobs a lot easier,” Webster said. “Mix that with great defense, you usually find yourself in blowout wins.”

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.

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Brandon Parker · March 15, 2013