After ripping the ball away from Luol Deng, taking it the length of the court and jamming it home with a two-handed reverse jam to delight of a sell-out Barclays Center crowd, Deron Williams confirmed something we all kind of knew: he's back.
"It just happened," Williams said of the dunk after the game. "I was just trying to show the guys at the NBA that I might be able to compete in the dunk contest next year."
The dunk topped off a 22 point night with 9-15 shooting from the floor, seven assists and three steals that had Williams looking a healthy and dynamic as he's ever been. The performance comes after dealing with a bone spur and inflammation in his ankle that hindered his play all season.
His rejuvenation to the Deron Williams of old became more obvious as the playoffs approached. In March, he averaged 21.9 points on 47 percent shooting from the field, which he upped that to 24.6 points on 52 percent in April. But his statement tonight, in the playoffs on national television, made it official.
"My legs feel good, my ankles feel good," Williams said. "I'm excited to be back in the playoffs."
Although he was scheduled for four rounds of cortisone shots to help the pain in his ankle, Deron felt so good he was able to bypass his last treatment that was scheduled to happen before the playoffs (via the New York Daily News). Without the high dosage pain killers, Williams hasn't faltered.
"He's playing at an extremely high-level," head coach P.J. Carlesimo said of his veteran point guard. "He pushed the ball, he distributed, he made shots, he defended."
Brooklyn rolled to a 106-89 victory over the Bulls and it was Williams with the driving spark. After missing the playoffs his last two seasons, he looks ready to once again make his presence felt.
No one would mind to see a few more dunks from him, either.
All quotes via NBA.com's live press conference stream.