WASHINGTON -- It has taken eight seasons, but former lottery pick Martell Webster may have finally found an NBA home in Washington.
If John Wall has any say over the Wizards offseason decisions, the charismatic, sweet-shooting forward will not be leaving town anytime soon. Webster exploded for a career-high 34 points, including sinking half of the Wizards' 14 3-pointers, and Washington scored its most points this season in a decisive 127-105 win over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.
Webster made 7 of 10 3-point attempts and Washington (23-42) finished 14 of 21 from beyond the arc while shooting 51.6 percent overall.
Drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 2005 draft by Portland, Webster's first seven seasons included more injuries and disappointment than starring moments. Looking for a perimeter threat to fill out their roster this past summer, the Wizards signed the Seattle native to a one-year contract.
He has since turned into one the NBA's top 3-point shooters and turned into the locker room's class clown, cutting up his teammates just as he cut down the Suns. In the process, he also showed off a rather specific impression.
"Martell is weird sometimes," Wall said. "He was in his own zone, doing the Michael Jordan shrug when he hit that last one...He had a big night for us."
Wall was no mere second fiddle, tallying 17 points on 8 of 11 shooting with 11 assists for his third double-double in his last four games. Emeka Okafor had 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Wizards completed a perfect three-game homestand.
Second behind only Kyle Korver among NBA 3-point shooters this season with a 45.3 percent clip, Webster has made at least four 3-point field goals in five straight games, establishing a franchise record. He also became the first Wizard to score at least 30 points in a game this season.
Entering the third quarter with Washington leading 66-59, Webster made all four of his 3-point attempts, skipping back down the court after his fourth put the Wizards up 102-79. After opening the fourth with another 3-ball, the channeling of Jordan took place complete with the shoulder shrug while backpedaling before the vocal crowd of 16,882.
"I was living in the moment," said Webster, who has played in 64 games with 50 starts, averaging 11.5 points.
Michael Beasley scored 16 of his 21 points in the second quarter and Jared Dudley had 16 for the Suns (22-45), losers of four straight and six of their last seven.
Summing up the game, Beasley correctly stated, "They just pretty much got what they wanted tonight."
Washington improved its record at the Verizon Center to 18-17. The last time the Wizards were above .500 at home 35 games into a season was during the 2007-08 campaign.
With the Wizards playing significantly better over the last two months, Wall is already thinking ahead toward the future and Webster's place in it.
"I already talked to Ted about that one," said Wall, referring to 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 having this year."
Webster is game for a permanent solution.
"I would love to be here next year, but it's a business so we'll see what happens. I'm having an
extraordinary time here. The city is great, the fans are great, my teammates are awesome, freaking
awesome, really freaking awesome," a smiling Webster said.
Not so awesome? Any aspect of the Suns defense, which offered no resistance. The Wizards set a season-high with 66 first-half points, which also stands as the most allowed by the Suns.
"I was embarrassed tonight, and I know our guys feel the same way," Suns interim coach Lindsay Hunter said. "The amount of points we gave up, the amount of 3's we gave up, rebounds, there was no aspect that we brought our focus to. And like I just told our guys, we'll practice as long as hard as we need to to fix everything."
Out since March 3 with a sprained right ankle, Bradley Beal made three 3-pointers and scored 13 points in 21 minutes off the bench.
The Wizards had lost 10 straight to the Suns and gone without a victory in Washington since January 15, 2005. Phoenix played its first game in Washington since Jan. 21, 2011.
Washington trailed 50-49, but jumped ahead by 12 as Beal scored five points during a 15-2 run.
Phoenix picked up two of its four first-half technical fouls in that stretch and trailed 66-59 at halftime. Webster and Beal each made two 3-pointers in the first half as the Wizards sank 6 of 10 before halftime.
NOTES: The Wizards also played without A.J. Price (sore right groin) and Chris Singleton (personal matter). ... Beasley, Jermaine O'Neal and Hunter all received individual technical fouls, along with Washington's Trevor Booker ... Suns rookie and D.C.-area native Kendall Marshall did not score in his first game back in his hometown. ... Washington begins a four-game road swing Monday against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Suns begin a four-game homestand Monday against the Los Angeles Lakers.