The Wizards got their first win of the season last night thanks to a last second 3-pointer by "14-carat" Cartier Martin to send the game to overtime and 29 points, 13 dimes and 9 steals from superstar rookie PG John Wall. That's been the focus anyway and I don't want to diminish any of that. The game would have ended as a 106-103 win for the visiting Philadelphia 76ers if Martin doesn't hit that amazing shot. And Wall was so dominant all night it is ugly to imagine what the game would have been like without him.
But, in the end, the Wizards won this game because they went 36-43 [84%] from the free throw line, a 13-point advantage over what the Sixers did on free throws. Free throw shooting enabled the Wizards to win despite allowing the 76ers to shoot 55% from the field. Free throw shooting enabled the Wizards to win despite allowing the 76ers bench to outscore the Wiz bench 62-41. And free throw shooting enabled the Wizards to overcome a 28-12 76ers 4th quarter run that turned a 10-point Wiz lead into a 6-point Sixers lead with just over 2 minutes left in regulation. Washington tied the game at regulation by outscoring the 76ers 16-10 in the final two minutes, with 9 of the 16 points coming from the charity stripe, including two huge shots from John Wall with 6 seconds left in the regulation.
In overtime, Andray Blatche drove around Elton Brand and drew a foul under the basket. With the Wizards down 115-114 with 7 seconds left, Blatche [23 points, 13-14 from the line] calmly sank two free throws to provide the winning margin. The Wizards went 6 for 6 from the free throw line in the extra period, providing more than half of their 10 overtime points.
Meanwhile, John Wall is awesome. Through the first three games of his career, Wall's production has been matched, in NBA history, only by all time great Oscar Robertson in his rookie season of 1960-61.