Playoff hopes hinge on D-Will

The Brooklyn Nets’ chances of making a run in the playoffs hinge on Deron Williams' health.

So when D-Will, healthy and playing like one of the best players in the NBA since, limped into the locker room after the Nets clinched at least the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference on Friday night in Indiana, it didn’t look good.

Deron Williams

Deron Williams

#8 PG
Brooklyn Nets

2013 STATS

  • GM75
  • PPG18.7

  • RPG3.1

  • APG7.7

  • FG%.439

  • FT%.860

But according to reporters who saw and spoke with Williams in the locker room, he’s OK. And according to the New York Daily News, Williams (who had 33 points and 14 assists in Brooklyn’s 117-109 victory) and Joe Johnson (who added 24 points) both said they won’t rest until the No. 3 seed is out of reach.

Williams, who had 20 of his points in the second quarter, looked to be in agony after he hurt his left knee while trying to contest a 3-pointer by George Hill with 31 seconds remaining. Williams previously had hurt himself in the third quarter, when he collided with Roy Hibbert.

The Nets (47-32) have three games remaining. The only way they can get the No. 3 seed is if they win out and the Pacers (49-30) lose out. But the Nets aren’t giving up.

They certainly didn’t give up Friday night. Brooklyn built a 24-point lead, only to lose it when the Pacers took their first lead, 101-99, with five minutes left.

But the Nets responded by scoring 18 of the game’s final 26 points. Jerry Stackhouse delivered the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:56 left to put the Nets up 107-104. Brook Lopez scored 24 points, Stackhouse had 13 and C.J. Watson had 10 for Brooklyn, which has now won four in a row.

The Atlanta Hawks (44-36) are battling the Chicago Bulls (44-36) for the No. 5 seed.

The Nets would like to get the No. 3 seed so they can potentially avoid the top-seeded/defending-champion Miami Heat until the conference finals -- should they advance that far.

Either way, with Toronto, Detroit and Washington coming up, there’s no reason they can’t get to 50 wins.