D-Will sits entire fourth due to minutes limit

CLEVELAND -- Deron Williams was a spectator during a tightly contested fourth quarter in the Nets' season-opening loss.

The Nets went into the game with a minutes restriction on Williams, who missed the majority of the preseason with an ankle injury. Williams started and played 21:44 but did not play in the fourth quarter of the Nets' 98-94 loss at Cleveland.

"I didn’t know how they were going to break up my minutes," Williams said. "I was a little surprised when they said I wasn’t going back in. I can't control that so just try to cheer my team on and hope for a win."

Williams shot 2-for-6 and scored seven points but did have nine assists despite the limited time. The Nets certainly could have used their star point guard in the fourth when they erased a nine-point deficit and tied the game four times, including at 91 with 1:04 left. But acting head coach Joe Prunty -- filling for the suspended Jason Kidd -- followed the plan with Williams' minutes.

Williams doesn't know when his minutes limit will be over or how much he will play on Friday against the Heat in the home opener. He was asked if there's a way to manage the minutes where he can play in the fourth quarter.

"I've only practiced twice (or) three times and played (10) minutes in a (preseason) game," Williams said. "Maybe we talk about it but it would be hard for me to sit (for a while and then play in the fourth). I don’t know how much real time it would be but from the middle of the third to the end of the fourth, that is a long time to sit out. It would be tough for me to get going after that."

Williams said his ankle did feel fine after the game.