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In Williams' Debut, Pain and a Plan

One hand, the non-shooting one, has a bone bruise but x-rays came back negative. The other is attached to a wrist that's been sore for most of the season and is still getting dinged and tweaked.  Deron Williams says he "hopes" he can play in the Nets' game Friday, but knowing how tough he is, that's more like a "will".

Playing with pain is one thing; playing without a plan is another and the Nets want to make sure that he knows there is one.  The phone call with Billy King, the long talk on the plane with Avery Johnson and the meeting with Mikhail Prokhorov have gone a long way to show the team is serious and willing to spend (more) money to build a team around the franchise player.

And he says he is willing to do his part, telling Fred Kerber, " "In order to do that (win), you see the trend now: two, three, sometimes four stars in every city." Al Iannazzone says Dwight Howard is target #1. But Tim Smith of the Daily News suggests the key to winning is Avery Johnson's relationship with his PG. "He is already moving in that direction," writes Smith. "He is already incorporating some of Utah's plays to accommodate Williams' style of play."

Meanwhile, Brett Yormark reports Nets in-season ticket sales "have doubled since the trade".