It’s pretty clear what it’s going to take for the Nets to get to where they want to be: Deron Williams playing like an all-star point guard.

He proved how potent the Nets can be after a 33-point, 8-assist effort in a 101-97 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night. Sure, it was only against the Hornets, but the Nets’ fourth-quarter dynamo Joe Johnson didn’t play for the third straight game.

While Johnson has proved to be a go-to guy in the fourth quarter, Williams makes the Nets’ offense go. If he’s running the offense and scoring at the right times, the Nets can be a tough out.

How dominant was Williams? He scored the Nets’ final 11 points against the Hornets. He got help from Brook Lopez, who finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists, but it was Williams who led the way when the Nets needed it most.

Part of Williams’ resurgence can be attributed to his health. Williams missed the Nets’ last two games before the all-star break to rest his ankles.

Since his return to the lineup, Williams is averaging 22.8 points and 8.4 assists. The Nets are 3-2 over that stretch. It proves that a little rest can do wonders for the body. It certainly helped Williams, who got nearly eight days of rest.

“I definitely feel a lot better. The ankles feel a lot better,” said Williams. “Definitely the rest helped and the shots. It’s a culmination of all those things.”

A rejuvenated Williams and a healthy Johnson, who could return to the lineup when the Nets host Dallas on Friday or when they play at Chicago on Sunday, could mean a positive stretch run for the Nets. But it won’t happen unless Williams finishes the season playing consistently well.