Cartier Martin and James Singleton were both in China when the NBA’s lockout-shortened season began. They are back on 10-day contracts, hanging around until some team — most likely the Washington Wizards — tells them they can stick around for good. The non-guaranteed, make-good lifestyle of basketball vagabonds isn’t attractive or desirable, but desperation can at times fuel inspired play.
And against a Charlotte team littered with fringe NBA players, that hungry duo came off the bench to outscore the Bobcats’ starters, 27-21, in the first half and helped the Wizards build a 20-point lead from which they never looked back. Martin finished with 19 points and Singleton, still somewhat jet-lagged after being back in the country just one week, had 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds as the Wizards romped past the beyond-expansion-bad Bobcats, 113-85, at Time Warner Cable Arena.
“They’re fighting for their careers, and that’s an approach that all of us need to have,” Roger Mason Jr. said. “Every game, you want to play it like it’s your last and those guys on 10-days, James and Cartier, they did a great job.”
In a matchup of the NBA’s two worst teams — their combined win total of 20 is worse than 24 NBA teams — the Wizards again established their dominance against the one NBA team that has consistently been looking up at them in the standings. All three wins over Charlotte have come since Coach Randy Wittman replaced Flip Saunders back in January. They have proven that the Wizards aren’t overly concerned about claiming the most Ping-Pong balls in the upcoming NBA draft lottery.
With a rare two-day reprieve between games, the Wizards (13-44) came out energized and determined to snap a five-game losing streak. They scored the first eight points of the game on Monday and led by at least 11 points for the final 32 minutes 53 seconds.
“That was a true team effort,” Wittman said. “These guys were focused. This has been a trying season for a lot of different reasons. You are seeing their feet get wet, but getting used to the temperature of the water a bit. That’s also good to see. The guys are happy, absolutely, and they should be.”
The Wizards were missing two starters in Nene and Trevor Booker, but they didn’t have to concern themselves with who didn’t play. John Wall also didn’t have to feel poorly about finishing with just two points, because he also had 12 assists and spent the entire fourth quarter waving a towel and rooting on his teammates.
“I like to see my teammates score. A nice pass gets me more excited than myself scoring,” Wall said.
Jordan Crawford led seven Wizards in double figures with 20 points, and Mason connected on a season-high five three-pointers and finished with 17 points off the bench. Jan Vesely had his first career double-double with 11 points, a career-high-tying 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. Martin, signed to his second 10-day contract on Sunday, matched his season-high with four three-pointers and scored in double figures for the third time in eight games.