Thursday, April 11, 2013
D-Will bringing his A-game, nightly
By Mike Mazzeo
We’ve come to expect this from Deron Williams.
When D-Will goes for 29 points and 12 assists in 39 minutes, as he did on Wednesday night in a 101-93 victory over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden, we no longer think, “Man, how come he can’t do this every night?”
That’s because, right now, he is.
Wednesday night’s matchup with Avery Bradley, one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA, was supposed to be tough. But Bradley found himself in early foul trouble, and D-Will took full advantage. He went 9-for-18 from the field and 10-for-10 from the free-throw stripe. His stat line also included four rebounds and a block.
"Avery’s a tough defender and you can't really afford to play around with the ball,” Williams told reporters in Boston. “So, I was just trying to make quick moves. One or two dribbles and then go. And once I saw he was in foul trouble, I tried to be a little more aggressive.”
In 25 games since the All-Star break, Williams is averaging 22.8 points and 7.9 assists. He’s shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 41.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
During that span, he’s had 10 20-point performances, five 30-point performances and one 42-point performance in which he set the franchise record by drilling 11 3-pointers. Oh, and add eight games with 10 or more assists.
“I think since the break he’s been as good as anybody playing. And not just any point guard -- as good as anybody’s playing,” Jerry Stackhouse said. “And he’s playing at a high level for us when we need it.”
Like when the Nets were up 77-67 in the final minute of the third quarter. D-Will had the ball at the top of the key. With the spring back in his step, he spun past Courtney Lee. Then, he converted a circus layup over Shavlick Randolph.
Imagine how many wins the Nets would’ve racked up had Williams been healthy the entire season.
“We’re saying the same thing every game,” Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “That’s how he's playing -- at Deron Williams’ level. He’s playing [like] absolutely one of, if not the [most], elite point guards in the league in terms of all the things he brings to the table.”
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Reggie Evans’ eight straight games with at least 13 rebounds is a franchise record.