As the clock wound down to the final seconds of the second quarter Thursday night, the fans inside Barclays Center rose to their feet in anticipation while Deron Williams dribbled the ball against Chris Paul at the top of the key.

Suddenly, Williams broke off a picture-perfect crossover and was gone, flying past Paul into the heart of the Clippers defense. He flipped the ball over the outstretched arms of Blake Griffin onto the rim and watched it roll into the basket, sending the sellout crowd into a frenzy.

This was the Deron Williams the Nets have been waiting for, the player who can change a game like few others in the NBA and one who showed he still exists as he led the Nets to a 102-93 triumph over the Clippers.

“I’m getting there,” Williams said with a smile after scoring 15 points to go with four assists.

Williams played 26:45 and sat the whole fourth quarter in his second game back after missing 11 of the previous 12 with a sprained left ankle. “I’m still getting my momentum, still getting my body right.
“I played a couple games and then got hurt again and had another three weeks off, so I need to get back in shape again. That’s a long time off, and I didn’t really do anything for the first two weeks, so I kind of jumped back in full steam.”

After putting up 25 points and seven assists against the Celtics Tuesday, Williams did virtually all of his damage against the Clippers by scoring 12 of the Nets’ last 16 points of the second quarter — including 10 straight — helping them blow open a close game and earn their third win in a row, one that moves them within a game of the Celtics for first place in the comically bad Atlantic Division.

“Just keep attacking,” Williams said of his mindset during the run. “I think we were getting some easy baskets, and I was feeling pretty good, so just keep attacking.”

Williams started his run with a pair of free throws and, after a ridiculous crossover on Paul, hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, one that he held his release on until it swished through the hoop. He then knocked down another 3-pointer from the corner and two more free throws, before his layup to end the half sent the Nets into the break with a 56-44 lead.