Jim Mancari, SNYNets.com
The announcement that Deron Williams would miss the two games before the All-Star break couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Nets.
Brooklyn was blown out in the second half Sunday night against the Spurs and really needed two wins to give the team some confidence heading into the break.
With a tough road game against the Pacers and a home matchup against the fast-paced Nuggets, Williams’ absence appeared to be a serious detriment to the team’s chances.
However, two games later, the Nets head into the break with two consecutive statement wins, despite not having their superstar point guard.
Brooklyn’s reserve point guards, C.J. Watson and Tyshawn Taylor, rose to the occasion filling in for D-Will.
Watson managed only one point in Monday’s overtime win over the Pacers, but Taylor scored a career-high 12 points including a few clutch buckets in the overtime period.
Watson was a completely different player in Wednesday’s big win over the Nuggets, contributing a season-high 25 points and six assists, as well as draining five three-pointers.
“Both Tyshawn and C.J. played well both nights,” P.J. Carlesimo said. “Tyshawn was borderline unbelievable against Indiana, and C.J. did the same thing tonight (Wednesday). Going forward, that’s going to help us even more.”
Not only did Watson and Taylor boost their own confidence with their performances, but their teammates also saw just how deep the team is, which will be crucial down the stretch and in the playoffs.
“I’m definitely confident in my teammates, no question,” Brook Lopez said. “Both our point guards played very well these past two games.”
“When you have one of your key guys out, I think it motivates guys to really step up and play a little harder,” Joe Johnson said. “Guys that really haven’t play as much tend to come in and play big minutes and be successful.”
Despite their individual success, the reserve point guards were focused more on getting wins for the team rather than personal achievements.
“They (the wins) are very important,” Watson said. “We just tried to come out and play as a team, play together and most importantly, get the win at the end of the day.”
Of course, the Nets are a better team with Williams in the lineup. But hopefully Watson and Taylor can continue to play with tenacity coming off the bench when their numbers are called.
Jim Mancari is a Contributor to SNYNets.com. Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.