Although he avoided the wrath of potentially angry Nets fans last month, Deron Williams' recent play has started to resemble that of his last two seasons in Brooklyn.
Williams is expected to face his former team for the first time when the Dallas Mavericks try to avoid their fourth loss in five games and deal the visiting Nets a 12th loss in 14 on Friday night.
After averaging a career-high 21.0 points in 2011-12 and 18.9 the following season for the Nets (12-34), Williams scored 14.3 in '13-'14 and 13.0 last season while dealing with several injuries.
The Nets opted to buy out the final two years of his $98.5 million contract before the Mavericks (26-22) quickly signed the three-time All-Star in July. Williams was out with a strained hamstring in what would have been his first game back in Brooklyn, a 119-118 Dallas overtime win Dec. 23.
"I wish things were different, I wish it would have worked out differently but I can't control that and I just move forward," he said.
Williams appeared rejuvenated in Dallas, averaging 15.4 points and 42.7 percent shooting in the first 23 games while missing only two of the first 25. His production and health have taken a dip, however, as he's averaged 12.1 points and 40.7 percent from the field in the past 17 while sitting out six times in that 23-game span.
Williams has averaged 9.0 points and 31.0 percent in his last three after scoring 12 in Wednesday's 127-107 road loss to Golden State.
The Mavs have given up 110.3 points per game in their 1-3 stretch, but they've also scored 105.5 over their last six. Chandler Parsons has led the scoring surge by averaging 25.4 points and hitting 18 of 30 from 3-point range over his past five.
"We'll just take it game by game and try to make these games back up at home," Parsons told the team's official website.
The Mavs should get a further offensive boost from Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 22 and hit the go-ahead basket with 19.2 seconds left in last month's meeting, as he'll return after getting Wednesday off.
The Mavs should be able to continue their high-scoring ways against a Brooklyn team that's allowed 107.0 points and 51.5 percent shooting during a 1-6 stretch.
After Tuesday's 102-98 loss to Miami, the Nets begin a two-game trip with the Eastern Conference's second-worst road record at 4-16.
"Just another story of not being able to finish a game," interim coach Tony Brown said at the end of a 1-3 homestand.
Thaddeus Young proved to be a difficult matchup for the Mavs in December, finishing with 29 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points and hit all five 3-point attempts as Brooklyn shot 50.5 percent and made 10 of 19 from beyond the arc.
Dallas, however, has done a decent job on Brooklyn leading scorer Brook Lopez. The center, averaging 19.6 points this season, has totaled 20 in the past two meetings.
He might be more difficult to contain if Mavericks center Zaza Pachulia misses a fourth straight game because of a sore Achilles. Guard Devin Harris is also day-to-day after missing the past two with a strained left big toe.
The Mavs have won eight of 11 at home, but are looking to avoid losing consecutive games there for the first time since a three-game skid Dec. 4-12. They've dropped the last four home meetings with the Nets.