- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Or did he?
Depends on who you ask.
Jason Kidd: “Well, we are trying to debate if that was a dunk. You have to ask him if it was a dunk. He doesn’t want to say it was a dunk.”
Mason Plumlee: “I’m gonna give it to him. He’s gone up about three times now with great courage. But this one, if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying. It rattled in, so he didn’t get the flush, but he got a dunk. There’s a difference. He got a dunk.”
Joe Johnson: “It was a dunk, but it wasn’t a dunk you get hype off of.”
Shaun Livingston: “No comment.”
Let the record show that the official box score credited Williams with a “driving dunk” at the 6:33 mark of the fourth quarter on Monday night.
It was his first dunk of the season. It may not make any highlight films -- it wasn’t clean and Williams didn’t get great elevation -- but he did in fact grab the rim with one hand, which constitutes a dunk, his first since May 2, 2013.
And it certainly generated a lot of laughs.
“Coach is supposed to have your back,” Williams said. “I can’t do anything but shake my head, man. He’s supposed to say something like, ‘I’m proud of him’ or ‘It’s a monumental moment.’ He was never a dunker in his day, either.”
Nice to get the first one out of the way, Deron?
“Yeah, especially after that one in Washington,” Williams said of getting denied by the rim on Saturday night.
“That one was pretty bad,” Johnson said.
But seriously, this had to feel good. ...
“I’m definitely feeling better,” said Williams, who had five dunks last season -- three of them in the playoffs.
“Still not jumping that high, as you can tell. But I’m definitely feeling better and more confident every day, and trying to get that confidence to continue.”
Was Williams ever concerned during an injury-plagued campaign that he’d ever get to the point where he could dunk?
“Not really,” he replied. “I had two ankle sprains on each ankle. It’s kinda hard to play basketball with two sprained ankles.”
All joking aside, Williams had one of his best games of the season, scoring 28 points in the Nets’ 108-95 victory over the Phoenix Suns. He shot 11-for-13 from the field and added three assists, three rebounds and three steals in 33 minutes.
The Nets (34-31) have won a season-high nine games at home and moved within three games of the idle Toronto Raptors (37-28) in the Atlantic Division standings.
“He was great tonight,” Kidd said. “I think he’s healthy, and he looked good. He was attacking and setting the table for his teammates. I think he had an overall pretty good game.”
He even had a pretty good dunk, too. That is, if you want to call it a dunk.
6dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo