Saturday, January 25, 2014
D-Will for Sixth Man!
By Mike Mazzeo
NEW YORK -- Since returning to the lineup, Deron Williams has given the Brooklyn Nets' second unit a major lift.
In his third game coming off the bench Friday night, Williams had 18 points -- 14 in the second half -- and 11 assists to just one turnover in 35 minutes.
“I felt pretty good,” said Williams, who has dealt with ankle injuries all season. “I’m getting a rhythm back and trying to get healthy and get back to playing like I’m capable.”
Williams made the selfless decision to work his way back into the rotation slowly, rather than disrupt the chemistry that starters Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have formed.
Since coming back, Williams is averaging 13.3 points and 7.7 assists on 46.4 percent shooting in 30 minutes, and the Nets are 3-0. In those three games, Brooklyn’s reserves have outscored the starters, 175-135.
“I think when we’re sharing the ball and moving it around, we’re hard to guard, we’re hard to stop,” Williams said of the team’s second unit, which also features Andray Blatche, Andrei Kirilenko, Mirza Teletovic and Jason Terry.
“We’re definitely building some chemistry, and hopefully we keep it up.”
On Friday, Williams logged his most minutes since returning.
“Every game is gonna be better [health-wise], so that’s just how I’m looking at it,” he said.
• From ESPN Stats & Information: The Nets are a league-best 9-1 in January after entering the month 10-21. They are averaging 6.1 more points per 100 possessions during that stretch while allowing 5.2 fewer per 100. And coach Jason Kidd has his team playing at a much slower tempo -- Brooklyn’s averaging just 90.5 possessions per 48 minutes this month after entering that stretch at 94.6. The league average is 96.4.