On one possession during the third quarter, he used a series of crossover dribbles to drive into the lane and make a layup.
On another possession during that same quarter, he used a crossover to create separation between himself and his defender before nailing a stepback jumper.
This was the Deron Williams of old at work.
Sure, it was just a meaningless preseason game, but Williams looked quick and agile, yet another sign that his surgically-repaired ankles are feeling great.
In 26 minutes of action on Wednesday, Williams scored 13 points, dished out eight assists, grabbed five rebounds and had just one turnover, as the Brooklyn Nets completed a two-game China sweep of the Sacramento Kings with a 129-117 double-overtime victory in Beijing.
“I think Deron Williams has been very consistent. I think his heath is back and he’s playing with confidence,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins told reporters.
Williams was wearing what appeared to be a wrap around his right wrist and thumb in the first half, but abandoned it in the second half, and his play seemed to take off as a result.
Said Williams of amping up his performance in the third: “I definitely hit some shots. I made a conscious effort to be more aggressive to start the quarter. We were down a bit, we needed to pick it up and have a little bit more energy on both ends of the floor, and so I just tried to be aggressive.”
If he’s able to sustain his health, Williams could have a big year. The Nets have surrounded him with a myriad of offensive weapons. The 30-year-old veteran and center Brook Lopez has been tough to stop when running the pick-and-roll. Meanwhile, Williams has a ton of shooters around him, which enables the team to really spread the floor and get excellent spacing for its “flex” motion offensive sets.
“I really enjoyed the two games over here,” Williams said. “I think our team really got a lot out of it.”
As for playing 44-minute quarters Sunday, Williams said, “I don’t know how much a minute (less) a quarter is going to impact the game. I guess we’ll see on Sunday when we play the game, but I’m for whatever the NBA is for.”
The Nets have a 14-hour flight back to America -- but at least they can board that flight knowing Williams took another positive step in the right direction as he looks to return to All-Star form.
Nets power forward Kevin Garnett got a day off to rest. Hollins said he wanted to look at the young guys on the roster. Mirza Teletovic started in Garnett’s place and was potent from beyond the arc, hitting six 3-pointers. ... Hollins returned to the bench after missing Sunday’s game in Shanghai due to illness. ... Alan Anderson returned to the lineup after missing Sunday’s game due to an abdominal injury.