Brooklyn Nets v Toronto Raptors - Game Seven

Deron Williams had injections in ankle before Game 7 vs. Raptors


Here is why this matters: For Brooklyn to beat Miami they are going to need great point guard play. Deron Williams has to own the series that starts Tuesday night in Miami.

During Game 6 between the Nets and Raptors, Williams rolled his ankle.

Before Game 7, he got a couple shots in those ankles, Williams told reporters at shootaround Tuesday. From Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

Williams also said this would not slow him against the Heat. He had 13 points on 3-of-8 shooting, with four assists in Game 7 against Toronto.

Williams averaged just 7.3 points a game on 33 percent shooting against Miami this season, although he did dish out 7.3 points a game against them.

That said, it’s very hard to read into the regular season meetings between the Nets and Heat and pull much of value out of those games to apply to the playoffs. Dwyane Wade and Kevin Garnett both missed games, while Norris Cole got huge run against the Nets. By the way, the Nets playoff starting lineup did not play one minute together this season against the Heat.

Williams will have to have a big series against the Heat, we’ll see if his ankle lets him approach that.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.