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Jordan Williams, Kobe square off in L.A. tonight

POSTED April 04, 2012
BY Patrick Tiscia
Twitter: @PatrickTiscia

OK, maybe that headline was a little extreme.

But, anytime you have a local athlete taking the same floor against a legend and against a legendary team, it's a big deal.

Tonight, Williams, who has played his best basketball of the season over the past eight games, and the Nets look to continue their recent strong play at Staples Center against the Lakers (10 p.m., YES Network).

Since the trade deadline, Williams has reclaimed his spot in the regular rotation for New Jersey and it's clear his confidence has grown to a level not seen in his roller coaster of a rookie season. In the past eight games, Williams has netted 6.8 points per game, along with 3.6 rebounds, while averaging 15.8 minutes a contest. The most important stat of all, considering his position, is Williams' 61 percent field goal percent shooting during this stretch, increasing his season-number to 49 percent.

Against Utah on March 26, Williams scored a career-high 13 points and in his past five games, he has scored no less than six points.

In a year with well-chronicled ups and downs, this strong play is crucial for Williams as he enters the biggest summer of his basketball life. With one more year left on his contract, it's vital for him to continue this improvement shown and that will start with the Nets summer league team in July.

Ending this season, which only has 12 games remaining, on a good note is step one. Then the real work begins. And, based on the past two weeks, Williams looks up to it.

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