Deron Williams is coming on at just the right time, but while his ankle troubles and resulting struggles on the court appear to be a thing of the past, the Brooklyn Nets point guard can't shed the history of what happened last summer. As a free agent, a brief flirtation with the Dallas Mavericks puts a bit of drama into Wednesday night's game in Williams' hometown of Dallas.
Williams has claimed he wants nothing more than to forget about his consideration of signing with Dallas and owner Mark Cuban this summer. His meeting with the Mavericks didn't include Cuban -- as it turned out, Cuban was filming an episode of the TV series "Shark Tank" -- so rubbed the wrong way, Williams re-signed with the Nets.
With Williams, the Nets sit fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Dallas, despite Cuban's later comments about the non-signing of Williams being a good thing, is only dreaming about going on a monumental winning streak to catch the Los Angeles Lakers, who are in the eighth spot in the Western Conference and three games ahead of the Mavs.
That's not all that crazy of talk for Dallas. The Mavs have won seven of their last 10 games with those losses being to Houston, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
But Brooklyn started an eight-game road trip against the Detroit Pistons with a bang. The Nets won, 119-82, as Williams showed his health improvements by dropping in 31 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Over the last 10 games, he is averaging 24.7 points on 48.8 percent shooting and 7.4 assist per game.
That's not good for Dallas, which doesn't need its opponents to have any extra motivation as the Mavs remain hopeful about staying in the playoff race.
Dirk back at it
As much as Williams has come on of late, Dirk Nowitzki has as well. He's slowly recovered from a knee surgery and is finally putting up the efficient numbers of his All-Star self. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the German power forward's PER has increased from 17.10 before the All-Star break to 22.79 after.
Nowitzki is averaging 18.3 points per game since the break and is hitting nearly 50 percent of his shots.
Marion out against Nets
Shawn Marion will miss his eighth game in a row on Wednesday as he continues to recover from a calf strain, he told ESPN Dallas. The forward is now targeting a return on Friday, when the Mavs host the Boston Celtics.
Jae Crowder has filled in for Marion in the starting lineup.
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Odds: The Mavs opened as 4.5-point favorites.