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Deron Williams says Nets believe they are better than Heat

Nov 1, 2013, 1:17 PM EST

Deron Williams AP

You want your team to believe in itself, believe it can beat anyone — especially if you are the Brooklyn Nets, a team with a one (two tops) year title window with this core.

Having them say it publicly, that’s something else entirely.

Deron Williams did just that speaking with ESPNNewYork.com in advance of the Nets hosting the Heat Friday night.

“I don’t know if we felt we were a better team than the Heat last year,” Williams said during a sitdown with first-year Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd for ESPN’s “SportsCenter” conversation. “And so I think in order for us to be able to beat them this year, we have to feel like we are a better team and we can beat them. And I think we do.”

What did you expect him to say?

Here’s the thing — this game means far more to Brooklyn and their building of a team identity than it does Miami. Brooklyn needs to believe they can beat the Heat. Miami is the championship bar to clear now, Brooklyn has to think they can clear it.

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On the other side, the Heat know who they are and what they have to do to win another title, and they know a November win or loss to Brooklyn matters no more than the opening night win over Chicago or loss the next day in Philadelphia. For the Heat there are no statement games in November.

Brooklyn may not see it that way.

“I think it will definitely be a statement game,” center Brook Lopez said Thursday. “It’s going to be a great benchmark for us. We absolutely believe we’re capable of competing with them and that’s something we’re going to want to be doing down the line, obviously, in the playoffs. So we’re definitely anticipating a high-energy, important game.”

In the end, the outcome of a game in November is an incredibly poor predictor of what could happen if these teams meet in the playoffs. But for a Brooklyn team trying to believe it matters a little more.

  1. thekingdave - Nov 1, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    While every professional team should have that sort of confidence (I’d expect nothing less as a fan for being paid millions of dollars), this is just wishful thinking. I’d be amazed if the Nets made it past the second round.

    • redbaronx - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      @thekingdave – I agree. I’m not sure the Nets are any better then the Pacers or Bulls and I certainly wouldn’t give them a chance vs the Heat, and lets see what happens with the old guys after a full season of pounding.

      I’d be really surprised if they make it out of the 2nd round this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they got bounced in the first round playing in a 4 vs 5 seed matchup.

      • homieshome - Nov 2, 2013 at 1:52 AM

        A lot of teams got better and i’m not convinced the Heat will be the ones to represent the east in this years finals. I think the Pacers have a legitimate shot, maybe the Bulls depending on how well they get back to their former selves. Maybe even the Knicks, you never know how team will grow together as the season goes on.

      • redbaronx - Nov 2, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        @homieshome – You’re absolutely right. The Pistons traded for Rasheed Wallace halfway into the season in 04/05 and that took them to another level. Teams are never the same at the end of the season as the beginning. Another example that comes to mind is when the Pistons traded Adrian Dantly for Mark Aguirre back in the 80’s and went on to their first banner.

        With that being said, I don’t think the Bulls are strong enough. They need another real offensive weapon. I do like the Pacers though. I’m with you there.

  2. thestilt - Nov 1, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    This team has a lot to prove. A win tonight doesn’t really mean anything but I understand the Nets putting so much emphisis on it. In order to win, you have to think you can win so I have no problem with what he said.

  3. 1heatedtoombrayduh - Nov 1, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    I can believe that im the sexiest man alive..doesnt make it true

  4. skinsfanwill - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    This is just reassurance to the owner for spending all his money on a washed up players and players that just don’t deserve the money they are making. They know damn well they would get swept by the heat.

  5. kingwithringz - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    What makes me upset is that every team plays hard against Miami, and than the next game they absolutely suck. You should want to play hard every game, not just against the Champs. We might not have the best fan base for such an awesome team, but we sure bring out the best in everyone.

    • antistratfordian - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      The Heat have a very shrewd fan base. It’s like the difference between cats and dogs from Meet The Parents:

      “You see, Greg, when you yell at a dog, his tail will go between his legs and cover his genitals, his ears will go down. A dog is very easy to break, but cats make you work for their affection. They don’t sell out the way dogs do.”

      Miami Heat fans are cats.

      • belleby123 - Nov 2, 2013 at 8:11 AM

        Well, their IQs are the same, if that’s what you mean.

    • Anoesis - Nov 1, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      As a Lakers fan all I can say is join the club. It’s a compliment that teams get up to play you because you’re the defending champs. It comes with the territory.

      Get ready for it to be twice as bad this year, and if you’re team can win three in a row it gets positively ridiculous.

      There are many other things in sports that chafe a hell of a lot more than having to deal with being the biggest kid on the block. You wanted to be the king with rings, deal with it.

      • kingwithringz - Nov 1, 2013 at 7:33 PM

        Thank you Anoesis. I love great fans and good sportsmanship.

  6. dls612 - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Sounds like he’s tryin hard to convince himself! His quote ” and i THINK we do. How do you really feel deron?

    • topdawg4ever - Nov 1, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      I think I can I think I can I think I can…

  7. moseskkim - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    if they stay healthy, they are arguably better than the heat. they have the most talented starting lineup along with terry, kirilenko, blatche, evans, alan anderson. and the heat are weak against big men. garnett is still a force and lopez is very skilled. they have guys who can beat you from every position. gerald wallace was a liability on offense, humphries sucks.. replace them with pierce/garnett/terry/kirilenko. wow tantalizing talent. health and chemistry are key. i dont worry about jkidd. frank’s a veteran coach and jkidd has in essence been coaching for the last 20 years as a PG.

  8. redbaronx - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I can see the Heat collectively yawning. The Nets just picked up some new (ahem old…) players. The Nets aren’t any better with the new Celts then the Celts were with Rondo and Co. I’m not even sure the Nets are as good as the Pacers and the Bulls let alone the Heat!

  9. 1972wasalongtimeago - Nov 1, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    As far as I’m concerned; unless you’re the Sixers youre probably better off keeping your mouth shut.

  10. misterdreamer119 - Nov 1, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    why would he say this? he couldnt even beat the decimated bulls at home last year. Every time I watch this guy I lose more respect.

  11. jbeagles23 - Nov 1, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Tonight is just another game for the heat where Brooklyn is trying to prove something. I say Brooklyn dominates the season series and the heat win another championship. We seen it with the Knicks last year an the celts two years ago. The regular season games are their championship

    • davidly - Nov 2, 2013 at 5:30 AM

      You could be right, though I hope you’re wrong–because the Pacers’ have come ahead in just that matchup the last two seasons only to come away heart-broken against them in the playoffs.

      The regular season games are their championship
      This reminds me of something I thought of yesterday. Something akin to a lineal champ (in boxing, the guy who beat the guy):

      Just for fun this season, I’m going to track a reg season lineal champ. Since the Sixers beat the Heat first, right now they’re the regular season lineal champ. Whoever beats them will then be the lineal champ. I wonder how many lineal champs there will be this season.

  12. belleby123 - Nov 2, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    I wish they had a video of him saying that so we could see his nose growing.

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