Watching Deron Williams slice through defenses the last four games has been a refreshing sight for the Nets.
His return has led to a better flow on offense and higher shooting percentages.
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And it's no coincidence that the Nets have averaged 108.7 points per game since their star point guard returned from a sprained ankle against the Celtics on Dec. 10.
Joe Johnson, who hit a league-high 10 three-pointers on 14 attempts and scored 37 points in Monday's 130-94 win over Boston, has been the chief beneficiary of Williams' generosity with the ball. "I think we're definitely getting better looks, but we're playing at a faster pace as well," said Johnson, who tied an NBA record with eight three-pointers in a quarter. "And Deron's back. So with him pushing the basketball, getting in the paint, kicking it out for wide-open shots, it makes it a lot easier for us as shooters to make some."
The Nets are shooting 52.2 percent from three-point range in their last four games.
Williams, who had 13 assists on Monday and is averaging 18.7 points and 8.2 assists since his return, attributed the Nets recent offensive surge to the improved health of the team and a simplification of the offense.
"We're just getting used to playing with each other," Williams said. "We're definitely cut things down. We're running a certain number [of plays]. We're not doing too much."
Coach Jason Kidd agrees. "That's as good as it gets when you simplify things," Kidd said. "The guys have bought in. The guys are going at a high level right now."
High percentage scoring opportunities should be even more plentiful when center Brook Lopez returns. Lopez, who has missed the last two games with a sore left ankle, is hoping to be back on the court tonight when the Nets host the Wizards.
"He's questionable," Kidd said of Lopez. "He did everything [Tuesday at practice]. So we'll see how he feels [Wednesday]."
Lopez said he felt good enough to play Monday, but was advised by Nets doctors to sit out.
"I don't expect to be overruled tomorrow. I mean we'll see when the time comes," Lopez said. "In my mind I feel confident that I'll be playing tomorrow. But then again how'd that work out last time?"
Sitting has been tough on Lopez, but he enjoyed watching Johnson put on a show Monday.
"If I had to pick one game this season to sit out and watch, that was the one," Lopez said. "It was fun to watch. It great seeing the ball move out there."
Notes & quotes: Paul Pierce scored 14 points and had five rebounds in a bit under 31 minutes off the bench on Monday. Kidd said Pierce is probably going to come off the bench against the Wizards. Pierce, who had been wearing a protective glove as he recovers from a broken bone in his right hand, didn't play with the glove on Monday. He also doesn't plan on wearing it Wednesday night "It felt a little more comfortable just not having it," he said. "When you're wearing something over your hand shooting the ball, and you shoot the ball with that hand your whole life, it's a little difficult."