Deron Williams knows he has to play better for the Nets to make any noise in the playoffs. Following a 1-for-7 performance against the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 where he missed a game-tying shot with ten seconds left, Williams told reporters at Nets practice the obvious, according to ESPN:
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.”
Williams is the team’s engine, and they often go as far as he’ll take them. Williams has a true shooting percentage, which weighs the value of three-pointers and free throws, of .545 in Nets wins and .461 in Nets losses.
Lionel Hollins defended his point guard after the game, citing his rebounding, passing, and defense over his poor shooting. He did so again during Thursday’s practice, after hearing that TNT analyst Reggie Miller agreed with Paul Pierce’s comments regarding Williams’s lack of leadership:
“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.”
The Nets take on the Hawks at home for Game 3 on Saturday at 3:00 P.M. in Barclays Center. The last time these teams played in Brooklyn, the Hawks eked out a 114-111 victory, but were playing without All-Star forward Paul Millsap.