Around the League

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Fratello’s Fantasy Pick: Martell Webster

Phoenix Suns v Washington WizardsMartell Webster of the Washington Wizards has come on of late and is playing his best basketball of the season. The young and struggling 23-42 Wizards squad is currently on a 3-game winning streak and are a respectable 5-4 in the month of March.

A good portion of this success can be attributed to 6’7” SF Webster, who was plucked right out of high school and picked 6th overall in the 2005 NBA Draft. In his first season in D.C., the 8th-year pro is having one of the most productive stretches of his career.

In the nine March contests, Webster is averaging 16.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg and 1.9 apg in 35 mpg. The 26-year-old is also shooting 95% from the line and 46% from behind the arc over this span.

He has even more remarkable numbers over the past five games. The Seattle native has averaged 21.8 ppg while going 24 for 47 from 3-land. On Saturday night in a win against Phoenix, Webster scored a career-high 34 points, going 7-10 from the 3 and 7-7 at the line.

Webster’s court time and numbers have jumped in part due to injuries to Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza, important components of the Wizard’s backcourt rotation. But with his play of late, coach Randy Wittman is sure to give ample run to Webster regardless of the health of others on the roster.

This week Washington plays four teams on the road that give up a ton of points – Charlotte, Phoenix, Lakers and Golden State. Now is a good time to add Webster to your fantasy team and watch him continue to pour in buckets.

Gameday Dish: Nets vs. Wizards

Copyright 2013 NBAE - Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty ImagesThis evening the 29-20 Brooklyn Nets come to The Federal City for the second time this season. The Washington Wizards at 13-35 have the NBA’s second worst record.

However, they’ve won their last two contests and are 8-7 since their PG extraordinaire John Wall returned from injury. In addition, this season the Wiz have beaten the Miami Heat and OKC Thunder at the Verizon Center.

On Monday night at home, Washington got the best of a short-handed Clippers squad, 98-90. SF Martell Webster led the team with 21 points, 5 boards and 3 dimes.

Two nights later the resurgent Knicks came to the nation’s capital and left with an L to end their five-game win streak. John Wall led the Wizards with 21 points, 9 dimes and 5 boards. And Trevor Ariza came off the bench to score a season-high 20 points in the 106-96 victory.

When the Nets and Wiz faced off on January 4th the Wizards fought hard, even without John Wall and veteran swingman Ariza. But they eventually fell 115-113 in double OT on a Joe Johnson jumper with .7 seconds left.

Copyright 2013 NBAE - Photo by B. Sevald/Einstein/NBAE via Getty ImagesBig man Brook Lopez led interim coach P.J. Carlesimo’s team that night with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks. In the losing effort rookie SG Bradley Beal, the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 draft, filled up the stat sheet with 24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

Beal is hoping to participate in tonight’s 48 after missing the past five games with a sprained wrist. The 19-year old Beal is 3rd among rookies in scoring with 13.2 ppg and has started 39 of the 41 games he’s played in this season.

Brooklyn picked up a road win on Wednesday in MoTown. All five of the Nets’ starters scored in double figures, and the bench added 24 points, 14 boards, 10 dimes and 6 steals in the 93-90 W over the Pistons.

PG Deron Williams surpassed the 5000-assist mark on Wednesday in his 554th NBA game, becoming the third fastest active player to reach surpass that milestone.

Tune in to the YES Network tonight at 7PM ET to see if Brooklyn can improve on their 11-11 road record and their 15-6 record under Coach Carlesimo.

Czar’s Midseason Review

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Gameday Dish: Nets vs. Wizards

The 17-15 Brooklyn Nets come to the nation’s capital tonight to take on the Washington Wizards. The Nets have gone 3-1 since P.J. Carlesimo was elevated to interim head coach last week.

After getting shellacked in San Antonio 104-73 on New Year’s Eve, the Brooklyn boys turned it around 48 hours later in Oklahoma City. The Nets ended the Thunder’s 12-game home winning streak 110-93 and earned their most impressive W of the season.

First-year Net Joe Johnson went 5 of 10 from 3-point land and scored a season-high 33 points. PG Deron Williams added 19 points, 13 dimes and 5 steals in the victory after having his least productive game of the season (8 points and 1 assist) in the loss to the Spurs.

The Wizards have the worst record in the NBA at 4-26. They’ve dropped 11 of their last 12 contests including an 89-81 loss at Indiana on Wednesday.

Starters Martell Webster and Garrett Temple combined for zero points. Jordan Crawford, a third-year SG from Xavier, led Washington with 20 points, 7 dimes and 2 steals off the bench.

- Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty ImagesUnfortunately the Wizards’ woes will continue after tonight’s 48 as they’ll have to face Miami and OKC without point guard John Wall, who will likely be out of commission for another 1-2 weeks.

This evening’s competition will be the first of four matchups between these two Eastern Conference foes, who had much more in common last season when they finished the regular season just two games apart.

In addition, tonight’s game will mark Andray Blatche’s first return to Washington since joining the Nets. The 26-year-old veteran spent his first seven seasons with the Wiz before he was waived via the amnesty clause this summer.

6’11” Blatche, who shot a career-worst 38% from the field last season and missed more than half of the games, was at times booed mercilessly by the frustrated Wizards fanbase. This year Blatche appears renewed by by the opportunity to compete on a winning squad and is shooting 49% while averaging 10.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg

Tune in to YES tonight at 7:00 PM ET to see if Brooklyn can build on their recent success and get some momentum going in the new year.