Nov 3, 2010

Cartier! For Three!

We won!

Before we talk about the game and join in singing the praises of John Wall, a moment for Cartier Martin, whose triple as time expired snatched overtime from the jaws of defeat. Cartier Martin went to Kansas State and graduated in 2007. In 2008, after spending a year in Turkey, he was drafted 15th overall. By the Iowa Energy of the NBA Developmental League (didn't know they had a draft? Me either!) Martin played eight games for the Wizards last season, earning an invitation to this year's training camp. But the organization remained uncertain about Martin right up to opening night. How uncertain? He's one of two Wizards who doesn't have a profile on the team page. Trevor Booker, Kevin Seraphin, Hamady Ndiaye - they all have profiles. Apparently, for Cartier Martin, they never found the time.

But it was Martin who ended up with the ball in his hands and his team down three in the dying moments of the game. It was Martin who had Andre Iguodala, 6 feet 6 inches of frightening athleticism, closing in to contest his shot. And it was Martin - the D-Leaguer, the 10-dayer, the nobody - who rose nonetheless, and found nothing but the bottom of the net. If Martin doesn't make it, if he's cut this season, if he never does anything else of note on a basketball court, that's still a hell of a memory.

The game itself was sloppy and fast and fun. ZA was there, twenty rows up, taking it all in (note to Wiz braintrust, record with ZA in attendance: 1-0, record without: 0-2. Get those season tickets in the mail!) The Wiz started slow, but it was clear from the outset they could hang with the Sixers. Initially Jrue Holliday thought he was John Wall, and scored 10 easy points in the first quarter, but that was straightened out as the game went along. Nick Young came in off the bench and went to that special place he goes a few times every season, burying jumper after jumper and trotting back downcourt with a grin a mile wide. Nick can be so good, on both sides of the ball. He must be an extraordinary pain in the ass for so many coaches to have kept him on the bench. I hope he gets more playing time. Watching him and John Wall run back down the court yapping and smiling after a bucket is good for the heart.

On the Sixers side, Evan Turner provided a pleasant reminder that Wall was the right pick. Turner hit some jumpers, grabbed some boards, and played solid D (although he got shook the first time he matched up with Wall, to the delight of the Verizon Center). He could be a nice player in a few seasons. But Wall was electric. As long as the Wiz aren't getting blown out, Wall will make them fun to watch. Any time the Wizards can jam things up on defense and get Wall the ball, he's off. One hard dribble and poof! Wall can't really shoot, and he's not great at running the set offense. He gambles on defense and sometimes gets lost. But in the open, at top speed, he's almost as good as anyone. That's the place where Wall can take on the rest of the league and win, and he knows it.

Other than Wall and Young, it's not clear how we scored 116 points. Andray Blatche is officially fat. That butt looked real big in those white shorts. The District fell in love with Yi over the summer ("Yiiiiiiiii" caterwauls everytime he touches the ball. Confusing) but he's not good at basketball. Hinrich is pretty annoying. Javale continues to prepare for the high jump in London in 2012. Al Thornton is TERRIBLE. So, we'll chalk this one up to Wall, Young, and a whole lot of smoke and mirrors. Oh, and the Philadelphia 76ers, they're not good either.

Hello merciless Wizmurd(erer)s of future championships!


  1. is it too early to pose the question: will we ever make it back to .500? sorry to be pessimistic. i'm eating bran flakes.

    and woot woot on the shoutout!!!

  2. From what I have seen so far:
    1. Hilton Armstrong has to be the worst player in the NBA. He definitely wins the award for tallest guy with the tiniest head.

    2. Before working on the jumpshot, Wall has to stop turning the ball over so damn much.

    3. Yi could be good...if he were good. Hard to articulate.

    4. Kirk Hinrich has always and will always be the shit.

    5. Gil still gets standing ovations...and the production he's going to give is as unpredictable as his behavior.

    6. I wish I were in JaVale's body. With those gifts, I'm pretty sure I'd be an all-star.

    7. Al Thornton is a beast. If only beasts could shoot.