D-Will nearing return to starting lineup

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Could Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams return to the starting lineup Friday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder?

Nets coach Jason Kidd isn’t ready to say just yet, but it seems like a possibility -- if not then, certainly in the near future.

“The second group has been great, when you look at the stats,” Kidd said. “We’ll continue to look at it. At some point, we’re gonna have to get him back with that first group.”

Williams has come off the bench the last five games, averaging 11.2 points and 8.2 assists on 42.6 percent shooting in 30.6 minutes.

He decided to play a reserve role when he came back from injury, so as not to disrupt the chemistry that starters Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett had developed playing together.

Williams has done a nice job anchoring the team’s second unit, which features Jason Terry, Mirza Teletovic, Andrei Kirilenko and Andray Blatche.

Since Williams has returned the reserves have outplayed the starters (five games) in terms of efficiency (points per 100 possessions):

Williams-Terry-Teletovic-Kirilenko-Blatche (55 minutes): 134.7 offensive rating, 111.4 defensive rating, 23.3 net rating

Livingston-Anderson-Johnson-Pierce-Garnett (56 minutes): 94.9 offensive rating, 93.1 defensive rating, 1.3 net rating

Said Williams: “We haven’t talked about it, so I’m going with the flow.”

• Williams was asked about his errant inbounds pass Monday night, which led to Patrick Patterson’s game-winning jumper.

“Looking back, I shouldn’t have thrown it to [the backcourt],” Williams said. “If we threw it on the other end, we’d still have time to set up. Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross, they stopped guarding me and starting guarding everyone on the floor, so I could’ve maybe thrown it off one of their legs [out of bounds]. Looking back, there’s always something you would do after the fact. But a lot of the passes were risky, maybe one I could’ve thrown to [Kevin Garnett] that would’ve been high. There’s definitely things I could’ve done looking back.”

• Andrei Kirilenko (sore right calf) did not practice.

“I got some ice on it. I just got a little rest. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow,” Kirilenko said.

He has already missed 26 games this season due to back spasms.