Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.
Deron on Dallas: 'Just another game'
DALLAS -- Deron Williams insists it’s no big deal.
Never mind the fact that he’s playing in a nationally-televised game in his hometown Wednesday night, taking the court at the American Airlines Center for the first time since spurning the Mavericks this offseason when he elected to re-sign with the Nets.
So what that Mark Cuban took a few shots at him in October, trying to explain how he felt the Mavs were better off without Williams.
Williams wasn’t about to fan the flames.
“It’s just another game for me,” he said before the Nets’ shootaround. “I’m glad my family and friends get a chance to come out and see the game. I’m glad I got a chance to spend a couple of days here and see people. But other than that, it’s just another game.”
So, wait, it doesn’t bring back any kind of memories at all? Playing in the city where you first made a name for yourself.
“Nah,” he said flatly.
He did say he he has about 25-30 tickets so he can accommodate some of his peeps. “I could have more, but I try to cut it off.”
Williams said most of those friends and family lobbied for him to sign with the Mavs. Of course, he starred at nearby The Colony in high school, but reiterated he doesn’t feel any different after choosing not to come back home and play for Dallas.
“Nah, not really,” he said. “I’m just going to try to focus on basketball tonight and not really worry about anything else. This is another game, but it’s a big game for us. We’ve got to build on what we did last game and try to get a win in a tough environment.”
Williams professed some affection for American Airlines Center, though.
“I love this arena. I think it’s a shooter’s arena,” Williams said. “The lighting is great. I think everything about this arena is great and I’ve enjoyed playing here. I usually get cheers and now that’ll probably stop.”
Williams has been lights out since the All-Star break, averaging 23.4 points, 7.7 assists and canning 46 percent of his three-pointers.
“He’s playing at a high level right now,” former Net Vince Carter said. “He’s in a great rhythm and we just have to make him take tough shots, don’t let [Brook] Lopez and [Reggie] Evans and all of their bigs get them second and third chances at shots because they have great shooters as well. And when Joe Johnson is in a rhythm, we know what we can do and you have to keep Gerald Wallace from slashing off the glass as well.
“When he’s rolling like that, everyone else is in play as well because you are going to put so much attention on him, it makes it easy for everyone else.”