Deron Williams was at the Nets practice facility Thursday riding a stationary bike when general manager Billy King delivered the news Avery Johnson was no longer the team's head coach.

"It caught me off-guard," Williams said before scoring 19 points in the Nets' 97-81 victory over the Bobcats last night. "He was coach of the month last month.

"We did struggle the last 13 games or so, but I felt like we have a great team, we had a great coach, we had some good wins, and we just needed to get back to playing the way we were playing in November and forget about the way we played in December. We had some good things going in practice and things we were working on, and it was just a matter of putting it together."

The Nets were unable to put it together in time to save Johnson's job, however, having dropped 10 of their first 13 games this month. Much of the blame for that has fallen at the feet of Williams, who became the official face of the franchise's first season in Brooklyn after his decision to re-sign with the team this summer as part of their massive re-tooling of the roster that cost more than $330 million.