With Joe Johnson still questionable, it falls to Deron Williams

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This is the guy Billy King traded for.

As Deron Williams told Rod Boone, in the absence of Joe Johnson, players have stepped up.

"I think that's a positive you can take from having a guy out, is that other guys need to step in," Williams said. "You've seen MarShon [Brooks] get good minutes and some other guys get minutes in his absence. You can always take some good things out, but we want Joe out there, especially in the fourth quarter."

Of course, Williams is the guy who's had the most "good minutes" in the three games that Johnson has missed. He's averaged 24 points, 8.3 assists and hitting 50 percent from deep. Go back to the All-Star Game, five games, and Williams is averaging 22.1, 8.3 and 51.5 percent. And he says his ankles feel "a lot better."

But while D-Will is doing well, Gerald Wallace admits to a physical and mental slump.

"I just have to keep trying, keep putting in work and doing what I can do. Some nights it’s rough," Wallace told Stefan Bondy. "You want to be out there helping your teammates but you’re struggling."

Meanwhile. Mirza Teletovic awaits his chance. Although when he plays now, it's usually for extended minutes, it's taking some time for him to adjust once he's on the court.

For the record, Johnson expects to play Friday vs. the Mavericks but nothing has been announced.

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