Deron Williams takes Celtics apart as Nets win, 101-93
BOSTON -- The man roaming the opposing sideline who once played point guard in the NBA knows Deron Williams' game has been somewhere out of this stratosphere of late.
Still, that didn't keep him from some wishing upon a star, basically daydreaming that the Nets' floor general was going to cool off Wednesday night, morphing back into the guy that struggled mightily before the All-Star break.
"I hope he plays like he played last time," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before tipoff, "because that was terrific for us."
Williams was brilliant again -- just not in the way Rivers had hoped.
With the Nets still trying to lock down home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, Williams keyed their impressive 101-93 victory over the Celtics at TD Garden, continuing his torrid stretch since the All-Star break.
Williams pumped in 29 points, dished 12 assists, swiped four rebounds and drained all 10 of his free throws. His 20-foot jumper with 5:17 remaining handed the Nets (46-32) an 11-point lead, lifting them to a victory in a game in which they lost Gerald Wallace to a left heel contusion in the second quarter. Wallace is listed as day-to-day.
In the last calendar month, Williams has posted seven games with 10 or more assists and has registered six double-doubles.
"We're saying the same thing every game," interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "That's how he's playing -- at Deron Williams' level. He's playing [like] absolutely one of, if not, the [most] elite point guards in the league in terms of all the things he brings to the table."
Jerry Stackhouse said: "I think since the break he's been as good as anybody playing. And not just any point guard -- as good as anybody's playing. And he's playing at a high level for us and we need it."
Williams had that look in his eye from the opening tip, maneuvering into the lane at times with ease. He even drew a couple of quick fouls on Avery Bradley in the game's initial 3:44, and from there, it was an uphill struggle for the Celtics (40-38). They just couldn't hang with the Nets' firepower.
Williams & Co. led 53-43 at halftime and 79-69 heading into the fourth.
"Avery's a tough defender and you can't really afford to play around with the ball," Williams said. "So, I was just trying to make quick moves. One or two dribbles and then go. And once I saw he was in foul trouble, I tried to be a little more aggressive."
Williams was simply the ringleader among the Nets' Big Three, who kept taking it to Boston and totaled 70 points. Brook Lopez had 21 points and four rebounds, and Joe Johnson looked more like himself, shaking off the effects of his nagging left heel injury to hit 8 of 15 shots and finish with 20 points.
When the Nets' trio has it going like that, they're hard to defend. "It felt good," Johnson said. "We play a lot through Brook, Deron's been playing unbelievable, going off the dribble, making plays and I'm just tying to spot up and knock down shots when he kicks it to me. So I'm just trying to stay ready."
.After taking the season series with the Celtics 3-1, they can turn their attention to other matters. Like fine-tuning things before the postseason.
"This was a big win for us and I think these next [four] games we'll be able to tell where we are at, too," Williams said. "We've been up and down a lot this season and these last two wins have been something to build on."