Training camp for point guard Deron Williams effectively ended with Tuesday’s game in Portland.
So said Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.
And Carlisle showed everyone better than he could tell them by playing Williams a season-high 45 minutes during the Mavericks’ 115-112 overtime win against the Trail Blazers.
Williams has slowly worked his way into playing heavy minutes after missing the entire training camp and playing in just one preseason game while dealing with an injury to both of his calves. But all of that is behind Williams now after he made 11-of-17 shots on the way to a game-high 30 points in the improbable win over the Blazers.
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"It’s all been a process,’’ Williams said. "It wasn’t good missing training camp and not be able to get the time with the guys on the court and get preseason games under my belt and those things.’’
The injuries slowed Williams to the point where his quickness wasn’t where he wanted to be, his jump shot was all over the map, and his reaction on certain plays was a bit off. But all that appears to be corrected as of now, as Williams bounced back from Monday’s disastrous 10-point 4-of-14 shooting performance in the loss at Sacramento and helped the Mavs pad their record to 11-8.
"Slowly but surely it’s coming,’’ Williams said. "It’s been a lot of ups and downs.
"I haven’t been as consistent as I want to shooting the ball like I talked about after (the loss to Sacramento). But I’m glad I was able to bounce back and put a night together like I did (Tuesday).’’
Williams was playing so well against the Blazers that Carlisle couldn’t find ample time to give him a decent rest – after he told him he would find time to get him some rest. The 11-year veteran entered Tuesday’s game for the final time with 11:26 remaining in regulation play and never left the game again.
That also includes Williams playing the entire five-minute overtime session.
"I told him in the fourth quarter I was going to try to get him a rest, and when we’re in overtime during a timeout he said, ‘Hey, where’s that rest you told me?,’ ‘’ Carlisle said. "I said, ‘Look, this is the end of the training camp for you, let’s look at that way.’
"We both had a chuckle about it, but that’s kind of the truth. Being able to make shots when he’s tired at the end of games means that he’s really brought his conditioning up.’’
Williams scored nine of the 19 points the Mavs scored in overtime. By contrast, there were three games this season where Williams scored less than nine points -- in those entire games.
With no rest, Williams had to somehow conjure up the energy to be a factor in overtime against Portland.
"I think the little break in between the regulation and overtime gave me a little energy and helped me re-load,’’ Williams said. "Coach told me when he put me back in (during) the fourth he was going to get me in and out, and then I didn’t come out.
"So I needed a little energy from somewhere.’’
In addition to his scoring, Williams finished with six rebounds and eight assists against Portland. He also picked up a pair of crucial blocked shots with less than a minute left in regulation that helped the Mavs get in position to send the game into overtime.
"He’s really getting a feel for what’s needed in our system,’’ Carlisle said. "He knows of his importance to the team on the one hand, yet on the other hand we have pretty good balance.
"It’s not like everything’s on his shoulders, but I really believe that we have a team makeup that gives him a chance to pick his spots to be aggressive without having to be the featured guy all the time. That’s how we built our team.’’
Meanwhile, as Williams gets more and more comfortable playing with his new teammates, the Mavs are anticipating him producing more and more productive games like the one he produced against the Blazers.
"I was able to get to the basket a lot (Tuesday) overall, and I think seeing the ball go in the basket helps,’’ Williams said. "My jump shots weren’t falling early, but I just kept attacking and tried to get in the lane and make things happen and get guys involved.
"I thought it was great balance. It was a great team win for us.’’
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com