Sunday, January 13, 2013
Thigh High: Williams lifts Nets over Pacers
By Mike Mazzeo
Deron Williams, despite a thigh contusion, played 41 stellar minutes in the Nets' win over Indy.
Despite being hampered by a right thigh contusion, Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams never had any second-thoughts about playing Sunday night.
"We had Gerald (Wallace) out already. We won five in a row. This was a big game for us, given who it was, a great team that's been playing really good basketball," Williams said. "You know they're gonna be in the playoffs. We needed this game."
Without D-Will, they wouldn't have gotten it.
The 28-year-old logged 41 minutes, scoring a team-high 22 points, dishing out a game-high nine assists and grabbing five rebounds as the Nets rallied to beat the Indiana Pacers 97-86 at Barclays Center.
Brooklyn (22-15) outscored Indiana 28-11 in the fourth quarter and scored 17 straight points in the final period, turning an eight-point deficit into a nine-point lead. The 11 fourth-quarter points scored by the Pacers (3-for-22) was an opponent's season-low for the final period. The Nets are now 10-3 against the Eastern Conference at home this season, and 8-15 against .500 or better teams (at time of game played).
"I knew I was gonna play a lot because the more I sit out, the more it tightens up," Williams said of his thigh injury. "The best thing to do is just keep playing through it."
During the team's season-high six-game winning streak in January, Williams is averaging 19.5 points, 8.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds, while shooting 46.8 percent from the field, 48.3 percent from 3-point range and 100 percent from the free throw line (a perfect 32-for-32, his best streak as a Net).
"I'm pretty confident," Williams said. "Early on, what hurt me was I just wanted to practice so much. I kinda feel like I'm soft if I'm not out there practicing with my teammates. I've just been a lot smarter about it. Because of that, my ankles feel better, my wrist feels better."
Williams, who has been plagued by a bevy of minor injuries this season, then "knocked on wood" -- double-tapping his locker.
Nothing wrong with being a little superstitious.
"I'm confident, just because I know I'm not as injured," Williams said. "It doesn't affect you. It doesn't weigh on you."
Williams and the Nets are now 8-1 since interim coach P.J. Carlesimo took over for Avery Johnson.
"We're just having a lot more fun. You can see it on our faces," Williams said. "We're getting stops and sharing the ball.
"That's how we want to play."
And if they do?
"I think we'll have a chance to beat anybody. That's where we're at right now," Williams said.