EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - A wry smile crossed Deron Williams face as he was being asked about his Game 2 struggles, describing some of the adjustments the Bulls made.
Talk turned to how the Bulls were getting up on him defensively, crowding him immediately in the backcourt at times. Williams was having none of it.
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"I had a bad game," the Nets point guard said Wednesday before the Nets wrapped up practice and headed to Chicago for Game 3 at the United Center Thursday night. "It happens. Relax."
In the immediate aftermath of Monday's loss, Williams was visibly frustrated and bummed out, vowing that he wasn't going to play like that again. Following a brilliant performance in the series opener, the Bulls stifled him in Game 2, holding him in check with eight points and 1-for-9 shooting. He was 0-for-5 from beyond the three-point arc and simply never got it going.
"We lost and I felt like a lot of it was my fault because of the way I played," said Williams, who did have 10 assists. "So, I'm [naturally] going to be down."
He added: "I missed shots and let them dictate what I was doing a little bit, and just got a little passive. I'll be fine. I had four open threes that I missed. I make those, it's 12 more points and we are not even talking about it. So I've got to make shots."
Williams was completely bottled up in the second half, misfiring on all but one of six attempts and netting only four points. He got off just one shot in the fourth quarter, and without him toiling at the elite level he's been playing at lately, the Nets couldn't pull it out.
P.J. Carlesimo believes there was a noticeable variation in how the Bulls guarded Williams in the first two games of the series. More trapping, less straight-up defending and simply doing whatever they could to take Williams out of his comfort zone was the theme of Game 2.
"They got two people on him, particularly in the pick- and-rolls," the Nets interim coach said. "He was able to split it a lot, but they got two people on him. When he comes off screens, they got two people on him and he saw a loaded floor, which they do. When you get into the paint, there's people there. There's three, four or five people there.
"I'm sure they did some things different. I think it was more that they did things better."
To aid in counteracting some of the Bulls' aggression, Williams said the Nets have to accumulate more defensive stops, which in turn, might lend itself to more opportunities to get out on the fast break. That could lead to easier buckets since Chicago wouldn't be completely set defensively.
Either way, the Nets know they have to switch a few things up.
"They made some good adjustments out there. Now it's our turn to make adjustments back and go back out there at them," Williams said. " . . . It should be fun. This is what the playoffs are about. They came into our building and beat us, and now we have to try to return the favor."