Deron Williams declared he’s done talking about injuries. If he keeps playing like he did last night against the Hornets, his game will do more than enough talking for him. Williams turned in his best performance since the All-Star break, finishing with 33 points— including the Nets’ final 11 — to go along with eight assists to lead the Nets to a 101-97 victory over the Hornets in front of 12,651 inside New Orleans Arena. “It feels good to get going, and especially down the stretch to close out a game,” said Williams after going 10-for-21 from the field and 4-for-8 from 3-point range. “It’s something I’ve kind of struggled with this year, and I was really successful at most of my career, so it feels really good to finally have a game like that. “I just wanted to step up for our team, and I especially wanted to step up after the last game went down the stretch for me personally.” After Williams tried unsuccessfully to draw a foul and then committed a turnover in the final minute of Sunday’s loss to Memphis, the Nets (34-24) needed every point they got from Williams to hold off the hard-charging Hornets (20-38), who fought back from what once was a 22-point deficit in the first half to get the game to as close as a two-point game inside the final seconds. But Williams, playing without backcourt partner Joe Johnson for the third straight game as he continues to sit out with a sore left heel, made sure the absence of the Nets’ closer didn’t result in another close loss like the ones the Nets suffered Friday against Houston and Sunday against the Grizzlies in Brooklyn. Williams drained a 3-pointer that gave the Nets a 93-84 lead with 1:24 remaining, and followed it up with a tough fadeaway jumper that again put them up nine with a minute remaining. Then, as the Hornets kept hitting 3-pointers to pull themselves back into a game that had seemed over multiple times, Williams calmly stepped to the foul line and drained six straight free throws inside the final 20 seconds to put it out of reach.
Rejuvenated Deron scores 33 to propel Nets past Hornets
New York Post | Feb 27