The "M-V-P" chants that rained down on Deron Williams during the fourth quarter of last night's win over the Indiana Pacers seemed intentional and un-ironic, considering his play in the month of January, as opposed to what really could be deemed a horrific December -- in which you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who was truthful making the case for Williams as the league's MVP, let alone the Nets' most valuable player.
Now, however, Williams seems to have gotten it "figured out," posting 19.5 points on 46.3 percent shooting, 8.5 assists and four rebounds during the Nets 6-game win streak. He's also hit 32 straight free throws, a team record.
The key, as Williams points out, has been a more relaxed atmosphere, a return to confidence and, yes, fewer practices.
As Stefan Bondy points out, Williams spoke in his post-game interview, saying the following:
"Early on I felt like I wanted to practice so much. I kind of felt like I was soft if I’m not out there and my teammates are out there practicing," he said. "I’ve just been a lot smarter about it. It’s just been one of those things where either you want it in practice, or you want it in games. Because of that, my ankle feels better. My wrist feels better.
"That’s a big key for me going through my head, it feels a lot better. I’m more confident, just because I know I’m not as injured. It doesn’t affect you, it doesn’t weigh on you."
To that point, as Bondy notes, Williams and his teammates are feeding off each other and now have a more positive outlook on the season. Something that really has been evident both on and off the court. A 6-game win streak will do that to a player -- and a team -- but this team seems like they're less riding a hot-streak and more figuring out what it is they need to do to sustain this level of play going forward.
- Brooklyn Nets win sixth straight game, get new coach P.J. Carlesimo off to second best start in franchise history. - Stefan Bondy - NY Daily News