Deron Williams got to keep his 11:39 tee time today in South Florida. And rightfully so. After a historic night, Williams has earned his time off.
The All-Star point guard set a franchise-record 57 points to lift the New Jersey Nets to a 104-101 victory over the hapless Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday night. Williams, who came into the contest averaging 21.7 points per game for the lottery-bound Nets, totally eclipsed Kevin Durant’s season-mark of 51 to score the most points in the NBA this season.
Williams did just about everything right for the Nets at the Time Warner Cable Arena, scoring inside-and-out, adding six rebounds and seven assists to his impressive stat line. New Jersey was down to Charlotte by as many as 16-points in the first half and when Nets starting center – Brook Lopez - rolled his ankle at the start of the third quarter- D.Will took over. He attacked the Bobcats porous defense -who opted not to double-team him off of pick and rolls- and scored 12 consecutive points in the third quarter, that was capped by a 4-point play after being fouled while knocking down a 3-pointer from the wing with 2:47 left to give the Nets a 71-66 lead. The versatile guard dominated Charlotte’s smaller guards of D.J. Augustin (12 points) and Kemba Walker (14 points) and hit the half-century mark with 2:59 remaining in the game.
Williams scored 10 points in the first quarter, seven in the second, 22 in the third and 18 in the fourth. The Nets All-Star point guard tied and then broke the franchise’s previous mark of 52 points, shared by Mike Newlin and Ray Williams, when he hit a pair of free throws with 2:33 left. D.Will scored 40 points of his 57 in the second half, while shooting 16-for-29 overall from the floor, including 4-for-11 from behind the arc. He was perfect from the free-throw line, 21-for-21, to become the second player in NBA history to make the most fouls shots without a miss- Dominique Wilkins holds the record as he went 23-for-23 on Dec. 8, 1992.
When it was all over, Williams set single-game career highs for points, field goals, field-goal attempts and free throws made. His previous career-high was 42 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 7, 2010. And his previous single-game high with Nets was 38 points against Jeremy Lin and the New York Knicks on Feb. 20. D-Will’s 57, was the second-most points scored against the Bobcats, one short of the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant’s 58 points in 2006.
“When you’re hot, you kind of just got to go with it,” Williams said after the Nets rallied from a 16-point deficit. “We got down big, and coach told us we’d have [Monday] off if we won, so I was trying to win…I have an 11:39 tee time.”