Not many max-contract players like coming off the bench, and fewer would suggest it themselves, but Williams is one exception. After a little over two weeks off to rest after a sprained left ankle, platelet-rich plasma treatment in both ankles, and cortisone shots in both ankles, Williams elected to come off the bench for the first time since February 2, 2006.
“We’ve been playing so well with that (starting) lineup, why shake things up?” Williams explained after the team’s 103-80 victory over the Knicks. “It doesn’t matter if I come off, start, whatever. The way Joe (Johnson)’s been playing in the first quarter, first half, I don’t want to disrupt that.”
Johnson scored 20 points in the first half, 15 with Williams on the bench. Johnson finished with a team-high 25 points.
The conversation with Kidd to bring Williams off the bench was easy, according to Williams. With a game tomorrow against the Orlando Magic, it’s not clear if they’ll continue to bring him along slowly, though Williams was open to the idea. “Why not?”
“I’ve never been a person to care about that type of thing,” he later added. “It’s not a big deal.”
He & the team will evaluate how he feels tonight and tomorrow morning before proceeding.
With Williams’s decision to come off the bench, Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson stayed in the lineup, next to Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett. The Nets are 5-0 when they run out that lineup, and 7-1 overall in 2014.
Williams played 27 minutes, a fair portion of them in garbage time in the second half. He finished with 13 points, three rebounds, and three assists on 4-10 shooting.