E.Will on Third Team in Less than Two Seasons
January 13, 2005
TORONTO - He hasn't been here even a month, but you can tell that Eric Williams, as is his history, already has had an impact on the Raptors. "He knows the game," said Toronto guard Milt Palacio, a teammate of Williams with the Celtics. "He's a tough SOB."
Williams is with his third team in the last 1 1/2 seasons. He ended last season with the Cavaliers. He signed with the Nets as a free agent over the summer. He was traded to the Raptors Dec. 17 as part of the Vince Carter clearance. Last night was his 10th game with Toronto and his ninth start.
"Everything's pretty cool," he said prior to the Celtics-Raptors game.
"I'm just trying to make the best of it as I can. And let my personality shine."
To be blunt, Williams was not pleased about the deal, which sent him, Aaron Williams, and Alonzo Mourning to Toronto for Carter. As Eric Williams put it, "I was upset. Surprised. Angry. Disappointed. Everything. But I understand this business. I knew it wasn't because I wasn't playing well. At the time, I was the only one [in the trade] who was even playing."
Mourning is on the Raptors' injured list. You will see him in a Toronto uniform immediately after Rush Limbaugh is invited to be the ACLU's executive director.
Aaron Williams has played sparingly (15 minutes over four games prior to last night) and had missed the last four games with a sprained left ankle. He was available last night.
Probably the biggest downer for Eric Williams is that he is separated from his son, Eric, who is 10. The younger Eric Williams now lives with his grandmother, Pat Williams, in the Newark area.
"That was what was so great about the whole New Jersey move," Eric Williams said. "But now, well, who better to take care of him than my mom?"
So, Doc Rivers, who's going to win the Atlantic Division? "I think it's going to be the team that gets hot," he said. "You go out and win eight or nine in a row, you might clinch." Rivers said he wouldn't even rule out New Jersey, which has lost Richard Jefferson for the season with a wrist injury.
"They still have Jason Kidd and Vince Carter." The Raptors are eight games under .500 - and just 3 1/2 out of first place. Who knows where they'd be if they could find a way to win on the road? Toronto is 2-17 away from the Air Canada Centre, the second-worst road record in the conference to Charlotte's 1-15 . . . As he did Tuesday, Rivers criticized the remarks of Carter, who has admitted he didn't always give it his best. Tracy McGrady also has come out and said he did the same thing in Orlando, where Rivers used to coach.
"I guess I had the same thing [as Carter]. Tracy just didn't tell me," Rivers said . . . Rivers on Walter McCarty being miffed about not playing: "He's a pro. When he comes into the game, he gives us energy. He stretches the floor for us on offense. I understand that he gets frustrated, but he is a real pro." . . . All In The Extended Family Dept: Lamond Murray is on track to set a Toronto record for 3-point shooting percentage in a season. Murray entered last night's game shooting 44.6 percent from international waters, eighth best in the league. The Raptors' franchise record is 42.2 percent, held by Tracy Murray (1995-96), who happens to be Murray's cousin . . . The next steal for Ricky Davis will be the 400th of his NBA career . . . Toronto coach Sam Mitchell on all the commotion that has happened in Chris Bosh's brief (one-plus seasons) career in Toronto: "I think he's had it pretty good. I have no sympathy for the young guys coming into the league. They had a chance and for the most part, they've handled themselves well. But they asked for this. And they have to understand that there's a responsibility that comes with it. You've got to learn as you go. That's how it is."