Nets get encouraging start from D-Will

The Brooklyn Nets probably won’t pose much of a threat to the two-time defending champion Miami Heat unless Deron Williams produces like the three-time All-Star he is.

So Williams’ 17-point, 3-rebound, 3-assist, 1-steal performance in Game 1 was certainly an encouraging sign.

“I thought he set the table again last night,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said of his starting point guard. “I thought he was aggressive, he was getting the ball in the paint, he had some great looks, he made some big shots at the end of the quarter, so I think he is going in the right direction.”

Williams did have three turnovers, but he shot 7-for-10 from the field and 3-for-5 from 3-point range. He even beat the buzzer with long 3s at the end of the second and third quarters.

“I think as a team we want to get into the paint,” Williams said. “I was trying to do that. We can’t sit around and just shoot jump shots against this team. We have to get to the free throw line.

Shaun Livingston was the only one from our starting five that shot free throws. We definitely have to be more aggressive, and I think a lot of that starts with me. I’m going to try to push the ball in transition and try to initiate the offense quick.”

Going in, the Nets felt like they had an edge at point guard with Williams going up against Mario Chalmers.

“We’ll try to get the advantage there, and I think everybody does,” Williams said. “In the playoffs and in these series, you want to play better than your opponent.”

Chalmers had 12 points in Game 1 and got by Williams for a couple of layups.

Still, there were plenty of reasons the Nets lost by 21 -- from the Heat’s domination in the paint (52-28) to their overall offensive execution (56.8 percent shooting) -- and Williams’ performance wasn’t one of them.

Williams wants to get out in transition more in Game 2 on Thursday night.

“A lot of times when we walk the ball down and set up in our half-court offense, that kind of plays right into what Miami wants to do,” he said. “They are a half-court defensive team, so when you let them set up, and get their defense set, it’s tough to score on them.”