It would seem wise for Charlotte to double-team Deron Williams off pick and rolls after New Jersey's All-Star guard set a franchise scoring record in Sunday's win over the Bobcats.
Coach Paul Silas, however, might give Williams another opportunity to light up the scoreboard and take his chances with his teammates.
Williams could be primed for another big game Friday night in New Jersey as he tries to lead the Nets to a second victory in six days over the Bobcats.
In Charlotte on Sunday, the Bobcats (5-32) opted not to double-team Williams off pick and rolls and the three-time All-Star made them pay dearly, finishing with an NBA season-high 57 points in a 104-101 victory. He shot 16 of 29 from the field, made all 21 of his free throws and bested his previous career high by 15 points.
Williams, who averages team highs of 22.4 points and 8.2 assists for the Nets (13-27), attributed much of his scoring to Charlotte's decision to use one man to try and stop him, something he rarely sees.
Silas defended the strategy.
"You can do one of two things: you can try to stop him and double him and leave other players wide open or guard everybody,'' he said afterward. "I thought that's mainly what kept us in the game. Nobody else was doing anything (for them). It gave us a chance.''
There was a lot of truth to Silas' analysis.
The rest of New Jersey's starters combined for 20 points on 6-of-19 shooting, with Kris Humphries (11) the only one to score more than six. The Bobcats didn't have to worry about Brook Lopez after he rolled his right ankle early in the third quarter and didn't return. The 7-foot center, who missed the Nets' first 32 games while recovering from a broken right foot, has been diagnosed with a sprained right ankle and will miss three weeks.
Despite Williams' scoring exploits, Charlotte had a chance to force overtime, but D.J. Augustin missed a 3-point attempt with one second left. The Bobcats didn't do themselves any favors missing 12 of their 14 shots from beyond the arc.
Although Silas seemed only worried about stopping Williams, he should make sure his team respects the shooting of Jordan Farmar.
In New Jersey's game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, Vinny Del Negro's team was focusing on Williams when he found an open Farmar, who hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 0.2 seconds left in a 101-100 win. Farmar finished with 16 points, while Williams had 21 and 10 assists.
Charlotte bounced back from its loss to the Nets with an impressive 100-84 victory over Orlando on Tuesday. It followed that up, however, with Wednesday's 99-93 loss to Utah, its 22nd in 24 games.
The Bobcats didn't activate Boris Diaw and Silas said he "doesn't know'' if he'll play again this season. Silas has grown frustrated by Diaw's effort and Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins has acknowledged Diaw's agent recently approached him about a buyout or trade.
With Charlotte playing out the string to the season, Silas is already giving more playing time to younger players Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens. Corey Maggette, however, has also been an important part of his rotation.
The 13-year veteran is averaging 26.0 points in his last three games - a stretch that started with a 24-point performance against the Nets.
Henderson has scored 15 in each of the season's two games against New Jersey.
The Nets used a more balanced-scoring attack in a 97-87 home win over Charlotte on Jan. 22. MarShon Brooks had 20 points, Williams and Anthony Morrow each added 19 and Farmar scored 13.
- Deron Williams
- Paul Silas
- New Jersey