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Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Notebook: Stevens was on point

By Chris Forsberg

NEW YORK -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens spent the past 48 hours telling anyone that would listen that the Brooklyn Nets were a different team with Deron Williams. He descried the difference as “night and day” and pegged Williams one of the best players in the NBA.

Turns out he wasn’t just pumping his tires.

In Williams' first game back after missing 11 of the Nets' previous 12 games, Williams scored 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting with seven assists and three rebounds over 37 minutes. The Celtics had no answer for big man Brook Lopez (18 points) over the first three quarters, but it was Williams that helped generate easy looks for the 7-footer and controlled the game in the fourth frame.

“I think you saw what I was talking about with Williams,” said Stevens. “End of the shot clock, guy makes a play, driving it in, kicking -- he made huge plays, I thought, for them. And, probably the most important thing was, when we got after them in the backcourt, they subbed him in, which was a good move. And they handled [the defensive pressure] better with him on the floor. I thought he was the biggest difference in the game, though the obvious difference was also Lopez’s size.”

If you’re a Celtics fan, the spin you put on it: Imagine how good Boston can be when it gets its own All-Star point guard back in Rajon Rondo.

A few more notes from Brooklyn’s triumph: