My DVR knew what was happening. At some point very late in the game, it decided to stop recording the Wizards-Magic in favor of a show it’s programmed to record, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. In the process, the game as captured up to that point got lost in the DVR stratosphere, putting a halt to my ability to go back and further analyze the game visually.
Probably for the best though, re-watching the low-lights of a 112-83 blowout loss isn’t exactly the most productive thing in the world. In most senses, it’s a game that Flip Saunders and his team (and Wizards fans) should just forget and move on (but not without an intense film session, one would hope — after all, Washington has to face Orlando three more times this season).
But in other senses, there were some very concerning displays last night. The season’s debut of several players who have been with the team the longest represented nothing more than the status quo, which either means little progress was made by them over the summer to more closely connect to the game cerebrally, or that they just have a low capability/potential to do so in the first place. Observations on those players and their situations will surely come (and you can read some thoughts from Rashad already).
No, this post is dedicated to the only player who really played worth a damn Thursday night. When your average Joe looks at the box score, he might assume that Cartier Martin got all of his points in garbage time. No sir. One only needs to look at a huge block Martin had against Dwight Howard to know that’s not true:
But it was about more than the block. Cartier led the Wizards with 17 points, scored on 5-9 FGs and 6-6 from the free-throw line, in 24 minutes off the bench. He also had two rebounds, two steals, that HUGE, ‘Sam Cassell Big Balls Dance’-worthy block and zero turnovers. Oh, and you could often see Martin seeking out first contact when blocking out, hustling for loose balls, double-teaming with purpose, communicating by pointing on defense … you know, that good stuff too.
There were others who looked okay at some points of the game (Trevor Booker got a couple garbage-time dunks), and I will further observe the few good but mostly bad instances to come, but Cartier is the only one who played with any sort of moxie. He played within himself and made sound decisions, representing the exact “role player plus” a coach could hope for.
“I like what I’ve seen out of Martin, though. He’s basically just kept the game simple. When he’s open, he’s shot, when not, he’s just moved the ball on.” -Steve Kerr on TNT
At this point, it’s probably good to go back and read the excellent, interesting piece that John Townsend wrote on Martin this past summer.
A Cartier Affair in 2010-11 might involve Martin finding himself in the top eight of the rotation. And that’s the one thing about last night I’m most comfortable saying without the disclaimer of “It’s just one game and the season is early.”
Martin was able to bait West Virginia Bubs, aka Jason Williams, into being the first player ejected on the season, due to the new, stringent technical rules. Cartier drew the charge and J-Will did the rest. Let’s watch:
Maybe the new tech rules are too much, I don’t think they are — I mean, really … if you were the ref, would you really want Bubs chirping in your ear? Bet not. Thank you Cartier, this post’s for you.