MIAMI - Deron Williams suffers from what we call FFS, "Fireworks Finale Syndrome."
If he was spectacular one night, he needs to be more spectacular the next night. If he didn’t dazzle at the end of a game one night, the show was a flop.
Williams was one of the few Brooklyn Nets that was in attack mode in Tuesday night’s Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat, lighting it up for 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting with three assists.
He ended the first half with a spectacular 26-foot 3-pointer that brought the Nets to within 46-43. He was better at the end of the third, when he moved back three feet and drained a 29-footer, giving the Nets hope going into the fourth.
The Heat were simply better in all facets of Game 1, scoring a convincing 107-86 win. The Nets came out of that game with one central theme on offense going into Thursday night’s Game 2 (7:00pm; ESPN2) in AmericanAirlines Arena: attack.
“I think as a team we want to get in the paint and I was trying to do that,’’ said Williams. “We can’t sit around and shoot all jump shots against this team. We got to get into the paint. We got to get to the free throw line.
“Shaun Livingston was the only one from our starting five that shot free throws. So we definitely have to be more aggressive and I think a lot of that starts with me.’’
The Nets said the problems on the defensive end were neck up – they simply didn’t execute the game plan.
The problems on the offensive end were neck down – the Heat attacked the paint, the Nets didn’t.
Of all the stats that were in Miami’s favor, this was the most glaring: The Heat outscored Nets 52-28 in the paint.
“We’ve got to attack,’’ said Livingston. “Deron sets the tone. He’s a pick and roll player. The way he can get in the paint and cause havoc, draw attention, bring two guys to him, getting into the paint - it allows our shots to be better shots, higher percentage shots.’’
Williams played with remarkable hop in his step, remarkable because he took two injections in his left ankle after the Game 6 win in the Nets' first-round series triumph over the Raptors. One injection was cortisone. The other was an anti-inflammatory.
Williams scored 13 points and had four assists in the decisive Game 7 win. But it was on defense, where he had to chase the relentless Kyle Lowry, that Williams really showed his toughness.
Lowry scored 28 points but was 7-of-19 from the field and committed just as many turnovers (three) as he had assists. It was Williams’ chest up defense on Lowry on the game’s final possession – forcing him into a double-team with Kevin Garnett – that led to Paul Pierce’s series-saving block.
Williams has never used the ankle – which he sprained on three separate occasions during the regular season - as an excuse. Nor would he say fatigue was a factor in the Game 1 loss to Miami.
The Nets were playing 48 hours after the Game 7 clincher in Toronto. The Heat had eight days to work on their game plan – and tan.
What Williams does put on himself is setting the pace and getting the Nets in attack mode. He believes if the Nets see him attacking the paint, they will follow suit.
“Hopefully,’’ he said. “Just pushing the ball in general will do that, I think, a lot of times. When we just walk the ball up and set up in our half-court offense that kind of plays into what Miami wants. They’re a good half-court defensive team.’’
Williams and Joe Johnson (17 points) were the only two starters that won their position battles in Game 1. The Nets need more across the board, but most of all they need Williams to bring the fireworks.
Coach Jason Kidd likes what he saw from his pyrotechnic point guard in Game 1.
“He set the table,’’ said Kidd. “I thought he was aggressive. He was getting the ball in the paint. He had some great looks. He made some big shots at the end of the quarter so I thought he was going in the right direction.’’
That direction is attack.