His interim coach is certainly a believer.
“He’ll bounce back (in Game 3) because he’s an excellent player,” P.J. Carlesimo said during a Tuesday conference call.
Williams went 1-for-9 from the field and scored just eight points in Brooklyn’s 90-82 Game 2 loss to the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center.
The best-of-7 Eastern Conference quarterfinals series is now tied at 1. Game 3 is Thursday night at United Center.
Williams had 22 points, seven assists, three steals and one two-handed reverse dunk in his team’s 106-89 victory in Game 1 Saturday night. But the Bulls turned up their defense intensity on the 28-year-old franchise player two nights later, and D-Will wasn’t able to be his usual dominant, post All-Star break self as a result.
“I didn’t play good. I’m not going to play like this again,” Williams said.
“He’s been on a great run and they did a good job getting two people to him an awful lot of the time,” Carlesimo said. “And when he penetrated, they did a good job contesting his shot. He wasn’t able to finish at the rim quite as effectively.
“But a lot of it was he took a couple 3s late too, so it is what it is. And you know Deron said he missed shots and had an off game. He’s gotta play better, of course he does, but he’s gonna be fine. He also had 10 assists and only two turnovers, and defended well ... You’ve gotta put Deron in better situations and better play calls than we did.”
Carlesimo said Williams is still in charge of most of the play calling, as he was during the regular season.
“I think he has a good sense of [calling plays], and I think it’s always a back-and-forth with us,” Carlesimo said. “In the timeouts [the coaching staff is] normally going to call something, and when we’re going in the flow and when we’re effective, we just let it go, and Deron makes a real high percentage of the calls."
“We’ll talk any time there’s a dead ball when it’s appropriate, but for the most part, he’s gonna make the calls. When it’s a night when we’re struggling, then it is more of a challenge, but I don’t think it’ll be any different [in Game 3] and I don’t think it’s an adjustment. We’ll watch the tape. We’ll talk to him about what we see. We’ve got two days to go, but he’s way above-average in terms of his feel for what’s working, what’s not working, who needs to be more involved, who hasn’t had a shot in a while, who’s got a favorable matchup. Some point guards are very comfortable with doing that, and he’s way above-average in terms of what he sees on the floor and getting us into the sets we need to be in.”
As for D-Will’s harsh critique of his play, Carlesimo said, “I just think our guys all year have not been excuse guys. When we didn’t play as well or play as well as we’re capable of playing, we know it’s on us. And I think Deron sets the tone that way.
“If anything, he’s too hard on himself. But I would much rather that kind of attitude. I think our guys all feel that we let ourselves down. We didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing, but give the Bulls some credit for that. We have to [be better] collectively. The coaches have to do a better job, the players have to do a better job and we’ve gotta find a way to get some wins.”