Cartier Martin had waited all season for memorable game in which he came off the bench, knocked down shots from long distance and Coach Randy Wittman had the confidence to keep him on the floor.
That moment finally arrived on Saturday at Oracle Arena, where the Wizards were flat, in desperate need of an energy injection on the second end of back-to-back games, and the steady exodus of players on a grueling road trip included John Wall getting ejected.
Playing a season-high 30 minutes, Martin helped give the Wizards a fighting chance in a 101-92 loss to the Golden State Warriors. He made a career-high six three-pointers and scored a career-high 23 points against a team that played with for part of the 2009-10 season.
“It definitely feels good to get out there and get a chance to play, man,” Martin said. “When you get minutes and you get an opportunity, you feel so much better about yourself. You play more relaxed. It’s my job to go out there and continue to play and thank God I made some shots.”
But even after his big night, Martin got more attention for something that he had no intention of doing. His former teammate, Stephen Curry, was once again going off on the team that passed on drafting him in 2009 to acquire Randy Foye and Mike Miller instead.
As Curry came down the lane after stealing the ball from Chris Singleton, Martin tried to slow him down by wrapping up and not conceding the layup. Curry’s momentum carried him forward and he twisted the same right ankle that has agitated him throughout his career. Martin hated to see Curry hobble off the court with 6 minutes 3 seconds remaining.
“It was tough, because like I said, he’s a good friend of mine,” Martin said of Curry, who finished with a game-high 35 points and averages 23.1 points in seven career games against Washington, his fourth-highest average against any team. “So I really didn’t try to take him down as hard as it seemed. All off of instinct, just trying to stop the ball and take a hard foul so that they couldn’t get to the basket and get an easy shot.”