- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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On Sunday night, D-Will went off -- and wound up making history.
Nets point guard Deron Williams scored 57 points -- the most in the Nets' NBA history -- in a 104-101 victory over the Bobcats.
Mike Newlin (Dec. 16, 1979) and Ray Williams (April 17, 1982) shared the previous record (52). It was the Nets' first 50-point game since Vince Carter had 51 on Dec. 25, 2005.
Julius Erving scored 63 points in a four-overtime game on Feb. 14, 1975, when the Nets were in the ABA.
"I'm just happy we got the win," Williams, who scored 50 points on Nov. 23 with Besiktas, told the YES Network after the game. "Fifty points is a big deal, but if you lose and you have 50, it really doesn't matter."
Williams had 40 of his 57 points in the second half. He made all 21 of his free-throw attempts -- the second-most free throw makes without a miss in NBA history (Dominique Wilkins, 23-for-23 on Dec. 8, 1992) while shooting 16-for-29 overall from the field -- including 4-for-11 from 3-point range. He added seven assists and six rebounds.
D-Will had 10 points in the first quarter, seven in the second, 22 in the third and 18 in the fourth. Williams tied and then broke the record when he hit a pair of free throws with 2:33 left.
When it was all over, Williams set single-game career highs for points, field goals, field-goal attempts and free throws made.
"When you're hot, you kinda just gotta go with it," Williams said after the Nets rallied from a 16-point deficit. "I was able to create my offense."
Williams' previous single-game career-high was 42 against the Thunder on April 7, 2010. His previous single-game Nets high was 38 against the Knicks on Feb. 20.
"We got down big, and coach told us we'd have [Monday] off if we won," Williams said. "I have an 11:39 tee time."
Center Brook Lopez badly rolled his ankle and didn’t return after exiting with nine minutes in the third quarter. That's when D-Will took over. He scored 18 straight points for his team, and wound up with 22 of the team's 28 points during the stanza.
Williams hit an 18-footer with 1:16 remaining that put the Nets ahead 98-94, and Shelden Williams converted a crucial three-point play to give them a seven-point lead 38 seconds later. D.J. Augustine missed a long, desperation 3-pointer that would have tied the game at the buzzer.
"Great win!! DWill had the best performance I've ever seen in person in my life," shooting guard Anthony Morrow tweeted.
Coach Avery Johnson told reporters after the game that Lopez had X-rays. Asked if they were negative, Johnson responded that the Nets would have an update on Monday. Lopez was on crunches as he left the locker room, according to multiple reports, but is expected to travel to Miami for Tuesday night’s game against the Heat.
Lopez missed the first 32 games and 33 of 34 after fracturing the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot in the final game of the preseason.