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NEW YORK — In the NBA, it’s all about getting hot at the right time.

And Deron Williams right now is hot. In fact, he’s scorching hot.

Williams added to his recent hot stretch in Saturday night’s win over the Bobcats, pouring in a game-high 32 points on 11-of-18 shooting. For the second straight game, he tallied 20 points in the second half alone.

In the 23 games since the All-Star break, D-Will is averaging 23.0 points per game, compared to his 16.7 mark in the 50 games prior to the break.

Tonight, he hopes to continue his hot stretch when the Nets host the Philadelphia 76ers.

Williams field goal shooting has increased by more than six percentage points, and his three-point shooting has skyrocketed. After nailing two threes in Saturday’s win, Williams is now one behind Kerry Kittles for the single-season three-point record of 158. Including tonight, he has six games left to break the record.

Once he returned to being fully healthy after being hampered by injuries earlier in the season, Williams has regained his All-Star form.

“It’s a tribute to how hard he’s worked on and off the floor,” P.J. Carlesimo said. “We expect it. One of the few intelligent things I’ve said is that I’m not worried about Deron Williams. We have a lot of other things to be worried about. He’s playing extremely well right now.”

His teammates have realized his tremendous impact, and it’s shown by how the team has played as a whole.

“He’s (Williams) such a huge playmaker and takes everyone to another level,” Brook Lopez said. “When we’re playing our best ball, it is because of him.”

“He (Williams) controls the tempo and dictates how we play,” Joe Johnson said. “If he’s going good, then we’re going good.”

During the recent five-game stretch in which Johnson was sidelined, D-Will took it upon himself to make up the offensive production. Johnson is still not 100 percent, so D-Will said that he would look to continue taking control on the floor.

“I’m definitely being more aggressive,” Williams said. “While Joe is working his way back and getting back to form, I have to be one of the guys who creates his own shot and creates for others, so I’m looking to do that.”

Carlesimo said that Williams’ defensive prowess is often overlooked since he’s such a strong offensive player. Williams is the floor general, who not only calls most of the offensive plays but also does all the little things that are sometimes not as obvious.

“This league is so full of big-time point guards,” Carlesimo said. “When you have one of if not the best, it makes a huge difference.”

If the Nets make any noise in the postseason, Williams will be at the heart of any sort of playoff run.

Jim Mancari is a Contributor to Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.

Tags: joe johnson, dwill, Editorial Aside, Columns, brook lopez, Brooklyn Nets, All-Star, deron williams, pj carlesimo
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