Nets' Deron Williams says he 'can play better' after rough Game 2

ByMike Mazzeo ESPN logo
Thursday, April 23, 2015

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Coming off one of the worst playoff games of his career, Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams knows he needs to produce at a higher level.

Asked to assess where his game is on Thursday, Williams responded, "Do I really have to answer that? I just came off two points, 1-for-7 [shooting]. I can play better."

In Brooklyn's 96-91 Game 2 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, Williams, as he said, had just two points on 1-for-7 shooting. He missed a wide-open, potential game-tying jumper with 10 seconds remaining.

The Nets trail the Hawks 2-0 in their first-round series. Game 3 is Saturday afternoon at Barclays Center.

Over the past three seasons, in the final five minutes of playoff games in which the Nets are ahead or behind by five points or fewer, Williams is 2-for-17 from the field.

Williams has faced heavy criticism of late. Former teammate Paul Pierce told recently that Williams didn't want to be an MVP candidate and had let the pressure of playing in the New York media market get to him.

Asked about Pierce's comments, TNT NBA analyst Reggie Miller told WFAN, "I can't argue with what Paul Pierce said. I have to agree with him. I don't really like to kill guys, but you have to call a spade a spade. I think he's right on."

Nets coach Lionel Hollins came to his point guard's defense.

"Who cares what Reggie says?" Hollins said. "Reggie's had bad moments himself in the playoffs. All these guys [former basketball players turned TV analysts] act like they've never made a mistake, never missed a shot. I mean ... all they are are talking heads now. They're not basketball players anymore. They're former basketball players that are talking heads.

"I don't mind them having their opinions ... but you're sitting here asking me how a guy thinks because all of these guys [have said something]. They're not the only ones that have comments. That's what all of you guys do -- you write, those are your comments; you're on TV, you have to talk about it. But you can't live your life through those guys."

Added Hollins: "I feel bad for Deron and I think it's unfair, but it's life. When you're in this business and you're in the public eye, there's gonna be a lot of unfairness."

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