In addition to the extremely obvious -- Deron Williams is a very good player who greatly increases your chances of winning -- the Nets are excited by the prospect of having the All-Star on the court for them as they close out a non-playoffs season.
There might not be anything for the Nets to play for in terms of the 2011 post-season, but as coach Avery Johnson has stressed repeatedly, his first season as the head of New Jersey's court fortunes were never really about this season but rather, building a strong foundation for the future.
So having Williams, even if for only the last nine games after he rested his strained right wrist, meant the Nets could look at combinations for next season and have Williams get even more familiar with mainstays such as Brook Lopez.
"That's a big point. We're looking at chemistry. We're looking at what lineups work well together," said Johnson, who in Friday's game at Philadelphia was without Kris Humphries, who the Nets hope can overcome a sprained ankle and bruised heel to play Sunday against Miami in New Jersey.
But with all the injuries the Nets have suffered -- including a setback to rookie Damion James who had won the starting small forward spot -- getting team chemistry has been difficult.
"With Humphries out and Damion James continuing to be out, we can't get as good a look at it. The main thing is we're looking at lineups," Johnson said. "We're looking at what plays work when Deron and Brook are involved in those plays, when they're not involved in plays. We're looking at situations of how Deron feeds (Anthony) Morrow the ball. What we can do on defense when he's in the game, how we got to change when he's out of the game. There are a lot of different situations we're looking at."
And they feel best when they're looking at those situations with Williams on the floor.
SIXERS 115, NETS 90: The Sixers clinched a playoff spot and the struggling, hurting Nets lost for the ninth time in 10 games. Again, as in three of their previous four starts, the Nets started slow and never recovered. They were down 14 in the first quarter, 17 in the second, 29 in the third. Garbage time came early so Brandon Wright scored a team high 15 points and recently-signed Mario West scored 13 points for the Nets.
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