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Friday, April 5, 2013
D-Will wasn't just good Thursday night

By ESPN New York staff

He was great.

Brooklyn’s franchise point guard scored 20 of his game-high 30 points in the second half of the Nets’ 92-90 loss to the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center, while adding 10 assists.

Since the All-Star break, Williams, healthy for the first time since he was traded to the Nets, has been putting up elite numbers on a regular basis. But his performance -- especially late in the fourth quarter Thursday night -- provided a glimpse of what he’ll likely be capable of in the postseason, when he really puts it into that extra gear and decides he wants to take over.

All nine of D-Will’s fourth-quarter points came during a stretch of 2 minutes, 46 seconds -- from the 3:38 mark to the 52-second mark. Over that span, Williams finished off a pair of highly difficult old-fashioned three-point plays on tough drives in the paint, while getting a tough floater to fall as well.

“I was just playing basketball, you know, trying to help my team out in whatever way possible,” he said.

Clearly Williams isn’t hindered by inflamed ankles or bad wrists or any other minor injuries for that matter. In Wednesday night’s game, he dunked for the first time this season. And on Thursday night, Williams tried to dunk again, albeit unsuccessfully.

Williams told the New York Daily News Wednesday that he would not require a fourth set of cortisone shots -- the maximum amount doctors believe athletes should take in a season.

In his last 22 games since receiving his third set of cortisone shots -- in the right place finally -- and doing PRP treatment and a three-day juice cleanse to get himself right, Williams is averaging 22.6 points on 47.3 percent shooting. That’s up from the 16.7 points he averaged on 41.3 percent shooting in 50 games prior to the break.

For his career, Williams is averaging 21.1 points and 9.7 assists on 45.8 percent shooting in 44 playoff games -- all with the Utah Jazz.

The Nets (43-32) are just 1 1/2 games up on the Bulls (41-33) for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining.

Deron Williams, it seems, is going to do everything in his power to make sure they keep that spot.