Deron Williams scores 31 as Nets pound Mavericks
DALLAS -- The adjectives were flying, trying to describe what they saw.
"Spectacular,'' Brook Lopez said.
"I was amazed,'' Andray Blatche said. "You could tell he was dialed in.''
The Nets all knew that Wednesday night's's game against the Mavericks meant a little something extra to Deron Williams, no matter how much he was downplaying it all day. There was no way that playing a nationally televised game in his hometown for the first time since spurning Dallas to re-sign with the Nets wasn't going to get a rise out of Williams, particularly with roughly 30 friends and family members among the sellout crowd of 19,962.
Never mind that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban took a few shots at him in October, explaining how the Mavs were better off without him because they would have been salary-capped out. Williams did his best not to create any controversy, letting his game do most of the talking. He made sure all of Dallas heard him loud and clear, too.
Playing as if this one had a special meaning, Williams ignited the Nets in the second half, tossing in 26 of his 31 points to propel them to a 113-96 win at American Airlines Center.
Lopez pumped in a season-high 38 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Reggie Evans snatched 22 rebounds for the Nets (40-28), who are 2-0 on their eight-game trip.
But this night was mostly about Williams. If you didn't think he was fired up, all it took was a gander at him once he swished a fast-break, fall-back jumper with 6:28 left that handed the Nets a 96-88 lead. He was beaming as he raced back down the court.
"It's just when you are feeling good and you feel like you can't miss,'' said Williams, who went 11-for-18 in the second half and 13-for-25 overall. "I just looked over at my bench and saw the excitement. So this was a big win for us, being in my hometown and what not.
"We just built on the win we had in Detroit. To come out and play the defense we did in that second half says a lot about this team. Hopefully, this is the team we can see for the rest of the season, and we'll be hard to beat.''
Fans of the Mavs (32-36) probably would have preferred seeing Williams wearing Dallas garb Wednesday night. But other than a smattering of boos when the public address announcer uttered his name in the pregame intros, Williams got off relatively easy. No venom.
"It wasn't bad,'' Williams said. "I thought I'd get a little more boos. So, it was good. I think I had a lot of people there, so most of those cheers were them.''
He surely gave them plenty to cheer about. But there was one aspect of his game that was lacking.
"He only had six assists. I'm a little disappointed in that,'' interim coach P.J. Carlesimo joked. "He played great. I'm not saying that's as good as we can play, but obviously that's one of our best games all year . . . It's a hell of a win for us.''
In an environment that Williams, who starred in high school at The Colony in the Dallas suburbs, finally admitted he absolutely loves.
"My family is here, my friends are here,'' Williams said. "I grew up a Mavericks fan. So it's always good to come back here and play.''