Deron Williams asked to play off the bench for Nets

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Deron Williams returned after missing five games but played off the bench by his own request.

Deron Williams has been in and out of the Brooklyn Nets lineup dealing with ankle injuries throughout the season and came off the bench Monday against the New York Knicks. Williams made the suggestion to head coach Jason Kidd, opting to keep the starting lineup intact instead of shaking up the team's rotations again, reports Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

"Just because we've playing so well with that lineup, why shake things up?" said Williams. "It doesn't matter if I start, whatever. The way Joe (Johnson) has been playing in the first quarters and the first half, I didn't want to disrupt that."

The decision panned out and the Nets dominated the Knicks in a lopsided 103-80 victory. Williams scored 13 points off the bench.

Brooklyn went 4-1 without Williams, including a double overtime victory against the Miami Heat. Shaun Livingston has started in his place since Jan. 6 and the Nets' starting unit without Williams has been productive. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Alan Anderson and Shaun Livingston have outscored opponents 18.2 points per 100 possessions over the past six games, according to NBA.com.

Williams was right to point out how well the lineup has played With the Nets working their way into the playoffs after struggling through the first half of the season it's important to build on any sign of success. Injuries have set the team back, especially losing Brook Lopez for the season, but Williams latest ankle setback may helped the team find something positive.

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