Deron Williams made the shot. Deron Williams made the shot. Deron Williams made the shot. Hey, that was the story of this game: The important things came in threes.
Williams made a franchise- record 11 three-point baskets, including an NBA-record nine in the first half, energizing Barclays Center on his way to 42 points in a 95-78 victory over the Wizards on Friday night.
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He was only one shy of the NBA single-game record, connecting on a torrid 11 of 16 from long range. That included 9 of 11 in the first half, when he scored 33 points -- as many as the Wizards' whole team. During his run, the whole arena turned electric, with a roar of anticipation every time he touched the ball.
"You didn't have any choice but to feel it," said Reggie Evans, who had 24 rebounds and experienced his own standing ovation from the crowd late in the fourth quarter. "It was like a video game: Shoot it again, shoot it again, keep on shooting it. That was exciting to watch."
Evans said his teammate was "hot like fish grease," which evidently meant he was cooking. The point is, that is the kind of game the franchise needs from a player who was signed not only to help the Nets win but to help them matter. He turned it into a memorable Brooklyn moment.
"I definitely got hot, especially in the first half. I just found myself open," Williams said. "I hit the first couple and those shots, when they leave your hand, they felt good. So I just kept shooting."
He heard the fans cheer for him. He felt the energy. "I thought they were going to boo me one time because I didn't shoot it,'' he said. "I stepped behind a screen, I might have had a shot and I passed it down to Joe [Johnson] and they went, 'Awww.' "
The Nets could see this coming ever since he took two games off before the All-Star break for rest and treatment -- platelet-rich plasma and cortisone shots -- on his two ailing ankles. Even before Friday night, he was shooting 48 percent from three-point land. He was so limber and agile that he said he "blew out" a pair of new high-top white sneakers, meaning the soles became dislodged.
He also blew past Wizards star point guard John Wall, and at the start of the second half, Williams whizzed past the franchise record of nine three-pointers in a game set by Vince Carter in December 2006, when he shot 9-for-21.
Other Nets didn't get a chance to get untracked, but Williams provided inside opportunities for Evans, the offensively challenged power forward.
Evans finished with 11 points -- and sympathetic cheers for missing 11 of 16 free throws. He got a standing "O" when he made two. "I was enjoying the moment, whether I missed or I made it. I was just excited," Evans said.
But the night belonged to the man who seemingly couldn't miss, and with more nights like this, all of Brooklyn might belong to Williams, too. "It is," he said, "a different feeling."
You might say it was the kind of night Williams needed to win over New York. But according to P.J. Carlesimo, if you did say that, you would be -- unlike Williams -- off the mark.
"I don't think Deron needs it," the interim coach said. "He's that good. He's been that good for so long that when he plays a game like this, it is a normal outcome."
Then again, there was little normal about this night.