Celtics-Nets review: Healthy Williams too much for C's

Celtics-Nets review: Healthy Williams too much for C's
April 11, 2013, 12:00 am
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BOSTON  — There was a time when Deron Williams was viewed in the eyes of some as the NBA's best point guard.

Efforts like the one he had Wednesday night will once again put his name in such conversations as he led the Brooklyn Nets to a 101-93 win over the Boston Celtics.

Williams finished with 29 points and 12 assists, both game-highs along with four rebounds. His performance on Wednesday was in striking contrast to the stinker of a game he played on Christmas Day against Boston.

In that 93-76 Celtics win, Williams had 10 points on 3-for-7 shooting with six assists and four turnovers.

Back then, Williams was dealing with a number of injuries that certainly had an impact on his play.

Now healthy, he gives the Nets hope that they will be among those capable of putting together a nice postseason run in a couple weeks when the playoffs begin.

Brooklyn's success of late has had plenty of players contributing, but it's hard to look at their run of late and not believe that the man with the ball in his hands most of the game - Williams - hasn't been a big part of their winning.

"He's playing at a really high level right now," Brooklyn's Jerry Stackhouse told CSNNE.com. "Right now, we got a lot of different guys getting the job done in whatever role they're supposed to be in and Deron, he's a big part of what we're about, obviously."

Williams' play was one of the many factors that led to the Celtics' loss. Here are some other keys discussed prior to the game, and how they actually played out.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:  Rebounding is always a wild adventure for the Boston Celtics, especially on the offensive glass. They face one of the best teams in the NBA when it comes to grabbing offensive rebounds, with the Nets coming in averaging 12.8 offensive boards a game which ranks fifth in the NBA.
WHAT WE SAW: Rebounding is always a factor, but it wasn't a major one in this game. Brooklyn out-rebounded Boston 39-37, but it was the Celtics winning the points in the paint battle, 42-36 as well as edging the Nets in second-chance points, 11-10.

MATCHUP TO WATCH:  Kevin Garnett vs Brooke Lopez: Garnett had an impressive debut in his return after an eight-game absence against Washington, but Lopez will present a much stiffer challenge with his size, strength and ability to score around the basket against most defenders - Garnett included.
WHAT WE SAW: Lopez had a better scoring night than Garnett with 21 points compared to Garnett with 11. But more than the scoring, Lopez was a bigger presence around the basket which not only led to points for himself, but also opened things up a bit for his teammates to get going. "He didn't play great, but he looked fine," C's coach Doc Rivers said of Garnett. "So I'll take that."

PLAYER TO WATCH: Reggie Evans isn't much of a scorer for Brooklyn, but there are few players who can impact the game as much as he can. He averages 10.8 rebounds per game but does so in just over 24 minutes per game.
WHAT WE SAW: As he has done so many times this season, Evans made the most of his time on the floor and led all players with 14 rebounds in 31 minutes.

STAT TO TRACK: Getting off to a good start will be huge for the Celtics if they are to win tonight. Brooklyn ranks third in the NBA in first-quarter points, with 26.2 per game. For each of the remaining three quarters of play, the Nets are ranked among the league's bottom 10 in scoring.
WHAT WE SAW: The Celtics held the Nets to just 22 points in the first quarter, but still found themselves looking at a one-point deficit. Brooklyn should have had even fewer points than that, but a 13-4 by the Nets to close out the quarter gave them a slim lead.