Trans. Oct 29 7:06 ET (Oct 29 7:06 ET ) Rajon Rondo returned from a broken hand and had 13 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds in the season opener Wednesday night to help the Boston Celtics beat the Brooklyn Nets 121-105. Kelly Olynyk had 19 points and Jeff Green added 17 for Boston, which opened a 29-point lead at the end of the third quarter and coasted to the win. Mirza Teletovic had 20 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench for the Nets. Joe Johnson scored 19 points for Brooklyn, and Deron Williams had 19 points and eight assists.
Nobody really expected the Brooklyn Nets to contend for a championship last season, but the team’s goofball mix of aging veterans, All-Star-level players in prime and the addition of a wild card in rookie head coach Jason Kidd at least added some intrigue to things. With the right matchups and a little luck, the Nets could have possibly upended a top-tier team like Miami, Indiana, or Chicago (thought of as top-tier, prior to Derrick Rose’s season-ending injury) in the second round and made things interesting in the East. Instead, the squad worked its way through a wildly inconsistent season, with Kidd nearly fired midway through, Brook Lopez breaking his foot yet again, and Deron Williams limping his way through another diminished year. D-Will only missed 18 games during the season while dealing with ankle woes, but he spent training camp in a walking boot, and contributed his worst box score numbers since his rookie season in 2005-06. It wasn’t pretty, and with Kidd gone to Milwaukee and swingman Paul Pierce off to Washington, few are expecting Brooklyn to make any such noise in the East this year. Provided they even make the playoffs. Expectations for Williams are similarly tempered, and he acknowledged as much in talking with Lenn Robbins at the team’s official website recently : "Everybody's pretty much written me off. People say I'm never gonna be like I once was. I'm on the downhill. And so what pressure do I have?" What ESPN New York’s Mike Mazzeo also found is that Williams’ Nets teammates and Deron himself seem to be a little on edge, in a good way, as they approach a hoped-for bounce-back season: "I'm just playing, man," Williams said Tuesday. "I can actually play. I can actually run, cut, jump, so it's different." Nets power forward Kevin Garnett said he feels like Williams has been playing with "a little edge" to his game. "He has the looks of a man who is out to prove something," Garnett said. Williams is referring to his lack of a training camp and exhibition season prior to his team’s 2013-14 run . Deron’s statistical contributions to the Nets in the years following the deal that sent him to the then-New Jersey Nets in 2011 weren’t actually that far off from his work in Utah, it’s just that outsized expectations may have gotten in the way. Williams was never comparable to Chris Paul, despite the direct line that many (mostly) televised pundits and scribes tried to pass off years ago, and Williams’ five-year and nearly $100 million contract agreement with Brooklyn in 2012 helped ramp things up. Clearly hobbled, Williams did take a step back last year – again, posting his dreariest numbers since a rookie year that saw him out of NBA shape. After finally submitting to ankle surgery last May, perhaps the 30-year old can turn the clock back in a way. Perhaps he can make the final three years and over $63 million owed on his seem less … actually, no. That deal is always going to be onerous. Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King at their absolute peak. The Nets aren’t doing anything this season, but if Williams could turn in a borderline All-Star contribution, the team could stick in the Eastern playoff bracket. Then again : Nets center Brook Lopez will miss Wednesday’s season opener against the Celtics as he continues to recover from a right midfoot sprain he suffered two weeks ago in China. Lopez was listed him as doubtful to play when the team left for Boston Tuesday, but coach Lionel Hollins confirmed the news after the team’s morning shootaround Wednesday. “He’s not playing tonight,” Hollins said. “He still is having some pain when he goes hard.” Brook Lopez is owed over $32.5 million over the next two seasons. Nets! - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
Deron Williams had a decent line against the Celtics on Wednesday with 19 points, three rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block and four turnovers in 39 minutes.
The Scoop:He looked fine out there and was effective on offense. Of course, the Celtics destroyed BK on defense to put this game out of reach early. If Williams can stay healthy, he'll easily outperform his ADP in fantasy leagues.
The Scoop:This is purely a precaution. His ankles have held up well through five preseason games, and he's looked very good in 25.8 minutes per game. Injury concerns have knocked his ADP down to 33.3 in 9-cat Yahoo! leagues, just behind Ty Lawson and ahead of Dwyane Wade.