Deron Williams knew there was going to be at least a moderate amount of pain he would have to play through during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
But the Dallas Mavericks’ point guard managed to acquit himself well, considering he missed the previous eight games with a sports hernia.
Williams played 29 minutes, scored 15 points, grabbed four rebounds and distributed three assists during the Mavs’ 98-91 loss to the Clippers at Staples Center. The pain, he knows, is something he’ll have to manage as times goes by.
“It’s something I’m pretty much going to have to deal with for the most part,” said Williams, who was 6-of-11 from the field. “But I feel pretty good.”
The Mavs know Williams is not 100 percent. They just appreciate the minutes he was able to give them against the Clippers.
“He was aggressive,” guard Raymond Felton said. “He did some of the things that we know he can do.
“You can still tell he’s not quite 100 percent, but at the same time, for him being out and the things he did, I think he looked good.”
This was Williams’ first game since he had 12 points and 11 assists in 39 minutes during a 109-103 loss at Portland on March 23.
“I thought he looked good,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 14 points Sunday. “He was aggressive, especially in the first half.
“I liked how he pushed on the break and tried to get in the lane and collapse the defense. I think when a guy comes back from injury you look at how he moves, and I thought he looked great.”
Under the circumstances, coach Rick Carlisle also was impressed with Williams.
“I thought he played well today, considering he’s been out a couple of weeks,” Carlisle said. “We need every healthy body we can get, but again that situation is going to be hour-to-hour, I would think.
“But I like what he did for a guy who has been out for two weeks.”
Williams, who doesn’t know if he’ll be able to play in Monday’s 8 p.m. game in Utah, cautioned not to make this all about him.
“It’s about the team, and we came up short today after being on a six-game winning streak, so I’m definitely not happy about that,” he said.
While the Mavs welcomed Williams back, guard J.J. Barea missed Sunday’s game with a strained right groin he injured during Friday’s win over Memphis. And like Williams, Barea doesn’t know if he’ll be available to play against the Jazz.
“I’ll see how it works out tomorrow morning and then go from there,” Barea said. “Hopefully tomorrow it’ll feel better and we’ll see.
“I’m going to do everything I can to play, talk to the trainers and make a decision and see how it feels tomorrow.”
Carlisle summed up the scenario involving Williams and Barea when he said: “We’re heavily depending on our training and medical staff to try to hold us together.”