There was a time — not so long ago — when NBA fans used to debate who was better: Chris Paul or Deron Williams? This was back when D-Will was running a pick-and-roll under Jerry Sloan in Utah, and CP3 was in The Big Easy. These days, Paul has inherited the moniker Point God while Williams has experienced a series of crushing ankle injuries. But tonight, when Williams’ Nets welcomed Paul’s Clippers, Deron reminded NBA fans what was once the best point rivalry in the league.
Twice during a second quarter that saw the Nets outscore the Clippers 36-19, Williams crossed over Chris Paul like it was 2007 again. First, with four minutes remaining, he faked going over a high screen by Brook Lopez and instead crossed back over to his right, completely turning Paul around before calmly draining a three from the top of the key.
Then, right before the end of the first half, Williams isolated against Paul at the top of the key and crossed him over again, this time going right, before finishing in the lane with a runner. This type of filthy handle by Williams used be on display almost every night.
Despite going just 4-of-9 from the field, D-Will was 2-for-3 from behind the arc for 15 points, and the Nets extended their 12-point halftime lead to 21 entering the fourth before hanging on to win their third-straight, 102-93. Andray Blatche and Joe Johnson led the Nets with 21 points each, and Paul Pierce came off the bench for 10 points, 7 boards and 5 assists in 26 minutes. Despite getting taken by his old rival, Paul finished with a team-high 20 points — but just two assists — in the Clippers loss.
The Nets are starting to figure it out — not so coincidentally when they have Brook Lopez and Deron Williams on the court at the same time. The only downside to the victory? Brook suffered a sprained left ankle. Oh well.
What do you think?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @countcenci.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.