By Dave D'Alessandro
Friday night's visit to Indianapolis might have resulted in a damaging loss, but the Nets may have made a small gain with regard to Marcus Williams' growth as a pro.
The day didn't start off well for the sophomore point guard, as he incurred a fine for missing the team bus to the shoot-around - he arrived in plenty of time for the morning workout anyway - and when the team fell apart on his watch during the first five minutes of the second quarter (1-for-10, one turnover), coach Lawrence Frank could have pulled the plug on his evening right then and there.
Only he didn't. The coach let Williams play it out, even with the Nets trailing the Pacers by 14 - and Williams helped Devin Harris lead a 28-5 counter punch that rewarded Frank's faith.
And that faith was beginning to lag, judging by Williams' average of 11.4 minutes over his five previous games.
"I went something like 11 minutes in the two previous games, but Coach told me not to worry about it," said Williams, who had 15 points and three assists in 26 minutes at Indy. "But I understood - Devin had a game going against the Knicks, and then in the last game against the Pacers, he had a great game going.
"So it was the same thing - stay focused and be ready, and I was. He threw me in there, and I tried to make plays." But does he interpret this as a renewed faith on the part of his coach?
"I guess," Williams replied. "But I wasn't worried about it."