EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams would prefer not to discuss one good game or one big shot, because, well, franchise players who make max money are expected to dominant on a nightly basis.
But Williams has been dealing with balky ankles, which have prevented that from happening.
And so, when he makes a clutch fadeaway jumper late in the fourth quarter of Monday’s 108-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers and finishes with 21 points and six assists, it is a huge deal -- even if he doesn’t want it to be.
“I wish we weren’t talking about little things like that all the time,” Williams admitted Wednesday. “It seems like I have a good game and it’s a big deal. It shouldn’t be that way. It has been, because of injuries and how it’s gone, but hopefully it’ll change.”
The organization would love nothing more. It’s just that since Williams came to the Nets in February 2010, he’s been hurt the majority of the time, which, as a result, has made the three-time All-Star doubt himself -- a lot.
Prior to Monday night’s outburst, Williams had gone through a brutal three-game stretch: the two costly turnovers against Toronto Jan. 27; the one-assist, four-turnover performance against Oklahoma City Jan. 31; and the 3-for-12 shooting night in Indiana on Feb. 1.
Those recent stumbles caused him to say this: “[My confidence] is not my highest. It’s been tough, just being in and out of the lineups, missing two weeks here and there. I feel like I get my legs back, get my legs in shape, and then I go out again. Then I’ve got to just do it all over again. It’s been a struggle.”
The Nets are hoping that he can rediscover the consistency that made him one of the best point guards in the NBA, that the latest round of cortisone shots and PRP injections that he received can rejuvenate him the way they did last season.
“It’s definitely getting better,” said Williams, who has started the last two games, while averaging 40 minutes played. “Last year, it didn’t happen overnight, it took a couple of weeks for [the ankle inflammation] to calm down and the strength to come back, so it’s getting there. Slowly, but surely.”
With playoff seeding being so crucial and avoiding the Pacers and Miami Heat in the first round a must, the Nets need him back at close to 100 percent sooner rather than later.