The Brooklyn Nets were at the doorstep of elimination in their opening round series against the Toronto Raptors. However, after a dominant performance in Game 6 on Friday, Brooklyn forced another game with a comfortable 97-83 win.
That victory was due in large part to star point guard Deron Williams.
Williams, after all, had a team-high 23 points and perhaps his finest game in the series. Shooting 50 percent from the field (8-16), Williams added four assists and series-highs in rebounds (five) and three-pointers (four). He has had other strong performances against Toronto over the prior five contests, but as this was an elimination game for the Nets, it’s easy to see why this could be considered his best one.
Williams has been an odd one to figure out lately. His up and down play is the primary reason the Nets haven’t been able to move on despite holding a 2-1 advantage after seizing home court advantage after their Game 1 win in Toronto. Some are pretty sure he’s been missing in action altogether as one fan posted a Wanted poster outside of the arena for him, Wild West style. Given that Williams has been far from reliable with a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde collection of games that would rival even the most inconsistent players, that seems, well, downright fair.
Considering the team goes as he goes, that’s meant a number of swings throughout the series.
In that Game 1 win, Williams was one of Brooklyn’s heroes with 24 points. He followed that performance with a 5-15 shooting night to go along with his three turnovers in a Game 2 defeat. Williams was back up again in Game 3 with 22 points on 7-14 shooting and eight assists, but back down in Games 4 and 5, combining for only 21 points while shooting under 37 percent from the field and adding four turnovers per game.
It’s really quite simple. A good game out of Williams has meant a win. Every time. The not-so-good version equals a loss. That’s not to say that Brooklyn can’t win without him — they nearly did in a 115-113 thriller in Game 5. However, the chances of a victory dramatically improve with him at his best.
The question now becomes, which Williams will the Nets get in the final game of the series on Sunday?
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