While John Wall has had the most to do with the Washington Wizards' improved play over the last two months, Martell Webster is starting to make his presence felt, too.
Washington aims for a season best-tying fourth consecutive win Monday night as it opens a four-game road trip against the NBA-worst Charlotte Bobcats.
After dropping 28 of their first 33 games with Wall sidelined due to a stress injury in his left knee, the Wizards (23-42) have gone 18-14 since his return.
Averaging team highs of 15.3 points and 7.6 assists, Wall has been especially impressive over the last four games, posting 24.0 and 11.0 per contest while shooting 61.7 percent.
"I think just finally sitting down with coach (Randy Wittman) and really finding out what pace meant for him," Wall said. "I thought pace was just trying to push every time. Pace is getting the ball up to your other teammates and throwing it ahead and throwing it to the post. And just playing at a different pace that we need throughout the game to keep us going."
Although Wall scored 17 on 8-of-11 from the field and dished out 11 assists Saturday in a 127-105 rout of Phoenix, it was Webster who stole the show. The eighth-year swingman shot 7 of 10 from 3-point range and finished with a career-high 34 points.
"My teammates kept finding me," said Webster, who's gone 24 for 47 from long distance and averaged 21.8 points during the Wizards' 4-1 run. "They encouraged me to continue to shoot the ball, and when you have that backing, it's easy to shoot."
Washington improved to 7-1 when Webster records at least 19 points, with its only loss coming 108-106 to Charlotte in double overtime Nov. 24. He had 21 that night and also scored 20 in a 104-87 victory over the Bobcats last Saturday.
Charlotte (14-52) is coming off its 12th loss in 13 games, 105-88 at Boston on Saturday. Recently signed Jannero Pargo, who began the season with Washington, had a season-high 18 points off the bench and Gerald Henderson added 16.
The Bobcats, who were outscored 59-42 over the second and third quarters, allowed the Celtics to shoot 51.9 percent and were outrebounded 42-35.
"I thought defensively it was pretty disappointing," coach Mike Dunlap said. "I think we're a better defensive team."
Henderson is averaging 22.2 points - 8.2 more than his season mark - over the last five games for Charlotte, which has dropped 22 of its last 25 at home.
In addition to trying to contain Wall and Webster, the Bobcats will need to keep an eye on Bradley Beal. The rookie standout had 13 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench Saturday, his first game back since missing six due to a sprained left ankle.
"It feels good," said Beal, averaging 19.3 points over his last 10 games. "To be able to come back, get back in the feel of things. To play that many minutes. It's great to just be out there with the team again."
Beal's return proved especially key with Trevor Ariza forced to sit out against the Suns due to a knee injury. Ariza, who scored a season-high 26 points against the Bobcats last weekend, is uncertain to be available Monday.