And that’s exactly what their $98 million point guard did.
Williams scored 11 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Nets to a 104-99 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night at Barclays Center.
“Deron took control of the game and made plays on both ends,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said.
The Nets (35-31), who led by as many as 13, trailed 85-82 with 6:11 left, but Williams scored seven consecutive points, giving them an 89-85 lead. He then hit an 18-footer and a pair of free throws in the final minute to keep the Bobcats (33-36) at bay.
“I’m just out there playing,” said Williams, who added eight assists and made seven of his last 11 shots following a 1-for-4 start. “I took what the defense gave me.”
Williams has now scored 53 points in his past two games, the most he’s scored in consecutive games this season, on 67.5 percent shooting.
“My confidence is getting back, and that’s a good thing for me, to the point where my confidence is high,” said Williams, who was bothered by ankle injuries up until the All-Star break, “I just have to keep it there. Keep attacking. Keep being aggressive. Guys are helping me. Paul [Pierce] has been telling me to be aggressive every game, so I just need to continue to do that.”
Williams also played some of his best defense of the season, holding Kemba Walker, who came in averaging 17.8 points per game, to just seven on 2-for-8 shooting.
“I just wanted to keep him in front of me as best as possible, and contest his shots,” said Williams, who extended his consecutive streak with at least one steal to 16 games, the longest active streak in the NBA.
The Nets matched a season-low with seven turnovers, and overcame a 51-39 rebounding deficit.
They have now won 10 straight games at home. They’ll try to make it 11 on Friday night when the Boston Celtics come to town on Friday.
“We owe Boston,” Williams said.
Williams recognizes that this is a small sample size. But he certainly looks like the player he was in the second half of last season, free of any ankle pain and confident as ever. And that has to be encouraging to the organization.
“It’s two games,” he said. “I just gotta keep playing.”