CHICAGO (AP) -- An hour before Saturday night's game, Chicago
Bulls coach Bill Cartwright called Jay Williams into his office and
shut the door.
Jay Williams easily had the best game of his young career Saturday night.
His rookie point guard had been struggling the last few games,
worrying so much about creating shots for everyone else that he was
forgetting the game that got him here.
"He said, 'I just want you to play,''' Williams said.
He definitely got the message. In his best NBA game yet, the No.
2 pick of the draft had a triple-double and made a 3-pointer with
34 seconds left to seal the Chicago Bulls' 100-93 victory over the
New Jersey Nets.
"Lately it was hard. I was trying to be the team
orchestrator,'' said Williams, who got the game ball. ''(The talk)
kind of took a big burden off my chest. I just went out and
He finished with 26 points, 13 assists and 14 rebounds,
Chicago's first triple-double since Michael Jordan had one in April
1997. Jalen Rose also had 26 for the Bulls, who snapped a four-game
Jason Kidd scored 15 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, but
it wasn't enough as the Eastern Conference champs lost for only the
second time this season. Kidd also had a triple-double with 12
assists and 11 rebounds.
"It's early in the season and we are still trying to find our
identity,'' Kidd said. "We haven't played a great game yet.''
But Kidd did his best to keep New Jersey in it. After trailing
by as many as 12 in the fourth quarter, he made two sets of free
throws to pull New Jersey within 95-91 with 56 seconds left.
Williams, the No. 2 pick in the draft, coolly answered back with
a 3-pointer from just beyond the arc. After Kenyon Martin scored on
a jumper, Williams drew a foul and made both free throws. As the
ball swished through the net on the second shot to make it 100-93,
the United Center crowd gave a loud roar.
The Nets missed badly on two long shots before Williams grabbed
the ball with about 10 seconds left. With Bulls fans screaming and
his teammates jumping up and down on the bench, Williams calmly
dribbled the ball at midcourt until time ran out.
"I'm excited for Jay Williams, the way he stepped up,'' Rose
said. "I'm not only happy for him, I'm proud of him. It's hard
when you're a top pick and you're not playing the way you know you
can. I think he felt a lot more confident today. He really came out
and played the game of his life.''
Donyell Marshall added 14 points and 15 rebounds off the bench
for the Bulls. Martin led the Nets with a season-high 29 points.
The Bulls had spent the last two games bumbling and fumbling
around and getting blown out. But they finally got their act
together, hustling for rebounds, taking care of the ball and being
aggressive offensively instead of waiting for what opponents gave
It paid off, as they took the lead early in the first quarter
and never trailed again.
"You can't come out and be lackadaisical and have no intensity
and play with no emotion and no effort for the first half and think
you are going to beat teams at the end. It's not going to happen,''
Nets coach Byron Scott said. "Hopefully this is a rude awakening
The Bulls led 70-64 after three. Williams opened the fourth with
a 3-pointer and then scored on a driving layup to put them ahead by
11, their largest lead of the game.
But the Nets weren't done yet. Kidd hit a 3 and followed it up
with a free throw to pull the Nets to 85-83 with 4:06 to play -- the
closest they'd been since the start of the second quarter. Thirty
seconds later, he tied it up with another pair of free throws.
Rose and Marshall each made a pair of free throws to give the
Bulls the lead back. Rose followed with a 3-pointer that made it
92-85 with 2:36 to play. The Nets immediately called a timeout, and
the rowdy United Center crowd got to its feet to give the Bulls a
Two minutes later, the fans were screaming again as Williams
sealed it with a 3.
"It was weird. When I was in the attack mode, it was like
everything seemed so much easier,'' Williams said. "It was good.
It was like, `I can play.'''
Kidd's triple-double was the 47th of his career and the
first of this season. ... Chicago had its first sellout, with
22,126 fans. ... Bulls coach Bill Cartwright got a technical foul
with 8:31 left in the third for arguing a no-call. ... Bulls G
Jamal Crawford missed the game to be with his ill grandmother, who
lives in his hometown of Seattle.