Playing for a championship is the reason Deron Williams headed to Cleveland.
Beginning this weekend, No. 31 will get his chance.
The Cavaliers, second-seeded team in the East, face off against the seventh-seed Indiana Pacers Saturday night (ABC), and while Cleveland as a team struggled over its final few games, No. 31 did quite the opposite.
With the Cavaliers’ big three on the bench this past Monday, Deron almost singlehandedly got Cleveland a win against Miami in a 124-121 defeat. The Fansided blog King James Gospel went so far as to declare D-Will one of the keys to Cleveland’s postseason success this year.
“Williams looked like a rejuvenated younger version of himself. In his 23 games with the Cavaliers, Williams only hit double figures six times. Yesterday, the backup point guard went for 35 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists albeit he did have 10 turnovers.
This has been the type of production that the Cavaliers have been looking for from Williams. He was an efficient 14-for-25 from the field, and he create offense while looking for his own buckets. Come this playoffs, the ability for Williams to operate and own the second unit is going to be huge.”
Incredibly, Deron also picked up a pair of four-point plays this past week, too.
First, there was Miami…
Deron Williams with the four point play to get the Cavs the late lead. James Johnson fouls out on the play. pic.twitter.com/8fl7KJLZh7
— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) April 11, 2017
…and then Toronto:
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) April 13, 2017
Heading into their matchup against Indiana, Deron and the Cavs have a lot in the favor. Top of the list: LeBron James, who hasn’t lost a first round series since the 2005-06 season. To be clear, that was 11 years ago. If that wasn’t enough, LBJ and his teams have swept every first round series since 2012.
Deron will anchor a Cavs second unit that has an opportunity to play a large role against what has been a largely inconsistent bench for Indiana.
That will be key given that bench scoring should be a decisive factor in the series. Indiana is missing Al Jefferson and Glen Robinson III for at least game one of the series. Both teams’ benches were among the least used in the league and those numbers figure to go down in the playoffs when rotations tighten and starters play heavier minutes.
Whoever is able to come off the bench and make an impact will change the games.
Deron Williams: It’s your time to shine.