Deron Williams' eyes grew a little wider when he realized the Charlotte Bobcats had opted not to double-team him off pick and rolls.
It's something he hadn't seen all season.
"I'm used to getting double-teamed on those," Williams said. "It's kind of refreshing not to be."
Williams took full advantage, scoring a franchise-record 57 points to lift the New Jersey Nets
to a 104-101 victory over the Bobcats on Sunday night. That's the most
points scored in the NBA this season and breaks the team record of 52
points shared by Mike Newlin and Ray Williams.
It was the second-most points scored against the Bobcats, one shy of Kobe Bryant's 58 in 2006.
who came into the game averaging 21.7 points per game, shot 16 of 29
from the field and was a perfect 21 for 21 from the free-throw line. He
did miss one free throw, but the Bobcats were called for a lane
violation and it didn't count.
Williams was surprised when a
teammate told him he had 39 points at the end of the third quarter,
three shy of his personal career-best set April 6, 2010, against
"You really don't pay attention to it," Williams
said. "It's just one of those games where you start feeling good and let
Coach Avery Johnson called Williams' effort unbelievable.
"He really was focused," Johnson said. "He was well-rested. He made a
lot of shots yesterday in our mini-practice and it carried over into
tonight's game. We were going back and forth on whether to have a
shootaround this morning and we opted for rest. And he was pretty
Added teammate Shelden Williams: "When someone is hitting like that you want to keep going to the well until it runs dry. It never did tonight."
However, not all went right for the Nets on this night as starting center Brook Lopez rolled his right ankle and left the locker room on crutches.
who made his season debut on Feb. 19 after missing the Nets' first 32
games while recovering from a broken right foot, had an X-ray but will
be reevaluated on Monday, according to Johnson.
"It's a tough
situation for him, especially coming back from the foot situation,"
Johnson said. "We're going to get him checked out tomorrow. We'll know
more when we find out."
Afterward, Bobcats coach Paul Silas wasn't apologizing for his team's approach to defending Deron Williams with one man.
can do one of two things: you can try to stop him and double him and
leave other players wide open or guard everybody," Silas said. "I
thought that's mainly what kept us in the game. Nobody else was doing
anything (for them). It gave us a chance."
Corey Maggette had 24 points and Gerald Henderson added 15 for the Bobcats, who've now lost five straight and 21 of their last 22.
Nets trailed by eight at halftime but took the lead thanks to Deron
Williams, who scored 22 points in the third quarter when he simply
dominated Charlotte's smaller guards D.J. Augustin and Kemba Walker.
Williams did just about everything right, adding six rebounds and seven
assists. He also converted a four-point play after getting fouled while
knocking down a 3-pointer from the wing.
With the Nets leading 96-94 with 1:04 remaining, Kris Humphries
missed two free throws but Shelden Williams got a key momentum-turning
rebound and called timeout. Deron Williams hit a big jumper to give the
Nets a four-point lead and Shelden Williams followed by converting a
three-point play off a pretty pass from Jordan Farmar.
The Bobcats would cut the lead to two with 3.5 seconds left, but MarShon Brooks
knocked down one of two free throws with 1.7 seconds left. The Bobcats
had a final chance to tie the game but Augustin's off-balanced heave
from 20 feet didn't hit the rim.
"We didn't give up," Silas said.
"That was a great thing. In the last 1.7 seconds, we didn't execute that
play particularly well. But we did have a chance. That shows me that we
are getting there. It's certainly not there yet. But we are striving to
get there. At least we're not just giving up and letting teams just run
over us. If we continue to do this, we'll be OK."
The Nets got 11 points and 13 rebounds from Humphries to win their 12th game this season.
The Bobcats led by as many as 16 in the first half, the first time they've held a double-digit lead since Feb. 4 at Phoenix.
Walker had 14 points and Augustin and Byron Mullens each added 12 for the Bobcats.