Despite getting annihilated by the crosstown rival Knicks at home Thursday 113-83, the Nets did receive a small dose of good news.

In an interview with TNT during the game, Nets general manager Billy King said Deron Williams likely will return to the lineup for the Nets’ next home game, which comes against the Celtics on Tuesday.

Williams has missed eight straight games since re-spraining his left ankle in the second quarter of the Nets’ loss in Charlotte on Nov. 20. Williams, who spent all of training camp recovering from a sprained right ankle and corresponding bone bruise he suffered during a workout in September in Utah, has now missed 10 of the Nets’ last 11 games since initially spraining his left ankle in the opening minutes of the Nets’ 100-98 overtime win in Phoenix on Nov. 15.

While Williams is nearing a return, there is no timetable for either Jason Terry (sore left knee) or Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms). Paul Pierce is out for the next 2-4 weeks with a broken bone in his right hand he suffered in the first half of last Friday’s loss in Houston.

In a battle of the two worst third-quarter teams in the league, the Knicks won by knockout.

For what felt like the millionth time this season, the Nets entered the second half of a game within shouting distance of their opponent. And, for what felt like the millionth time this season, the Nets proceeded to get blown out in the third quarter.