BOSTON -- They've all been eager to take the court over these past few days, hoping to get a true gauge of how they're going to stack up.
Perhaps no one on the Nets, though, was as thrilled as C.J. Watson. See, former Bulls guard Watson took a lot of flak for his decision in the closing seconds of the Bulls' Game 6 playoff matchup with the 76ers in April. With Chicago up by one, Watson passed the ball to Omer Asik rather than taking the shot.
Chicago wound up losing and people started sending negative tweets Watson's way. He'll never be able to erase that play from his memory bank, but it's almost as if he wouldn't have it any other way.
"I think you have to live with it," said Watson, who started at point guard in Tuesday night's preseason game against the Celtics at TD Garden since Avery Johnson elected to rest his regular starters. "You learn from your mistakes. You look back at it and try to see what the criticism is about. But I think I still made the right play. If I'm in the same position, I'll try to do better next time and go from there."
The Nets brought in Watson to serve as Deron Williams' understudy, basically handing him the keys to run their second unit. Through their first three preseason games, he's been one of the Nets' steadiest players, getting 28 points and four assists in his first two contests. Some may think those preseason stats are insignificant.
"I think it really does mean something," Joe Johnson said. "It gives us a chance to kind of evaluate where we are at and who can do what. C.J. has been great. He was a great backup in Chicago, so I don't expect anything different there."
But Watson's play caught Avery Johnson by surprise.
"We thought he was good, but he's good," Johnson said. "He's good at what he does."
Williams has admired Watson's game for a while and is glad Watson is backing him up.
"I've always been a fan of his," Williams said. "I think he's going to be a great player for me."
In other words, Williams can play unselfishly, just like Watson did on his final drive in a Bulls uniform.
"Having all the blame on myself for the last play or whatever," Watson said, "I'm just trying to learn from the mistakes."