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News » BUCKS Mo to the point Williams thrives with Cavaliers

BUCKS Mo to the point Williams thrives with Cavaliers

BUCKS  Mo to the point  Williams thrives with Cavaliers
Mo Williams is sitting pretty with his new team.

And why not? It's hard to be upset when you're playing next to LeBron James and helping the Cleveland Cavaliers to the third-best record in the National Basketball Association, behind only the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.

The former Milwaukee Bucks point guard returned to the Bradley Center on Saturday night, his first appearance in Milwaukee since being traded in a three-team deal during the off-season.

The Bucks made the trade in part due to Williams' long-term contract (six years and $51 million) and in part to find a more traditional point guard, which they obtained from Oklahoma City in veteran Luke Ridnour.

"They gave me an opportunity for me to make a name for myself in this league, and they gave me my contract ," Williams said of the Bucks. "If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be in the situation I am now. I'm definitely grateful. I would never say anything bad because I don't have any remorseful feelings toward the organization or the city of Milwaukee."

Entering Saturday's game, Williams was averaging 15.6 points and 4.7 assists while playing 33.1 minutes per game. He was thriving in a starting guard tandem with 6-foot-3 Delonte West, with the two players being interchangeable at certain times in a game.

And Williams was loving his on-court time with James, already the subject of endless media speculation about his destination in 2010, when the 6-8 superstar will become a free agent.

"I wasn't surprised about anything, because I was accustomed to seeing him from afar," Williams said of James. "Playing with him, it just solidifies everything I thought.

"There's nothing he really can't do, honestly."

Cavaliers coach Mike Brown had nothing but praise for Williams, who was brought over to relieve some of the scoring burden on James and help during the playoff grind.

"He's our point guard, and we try to keep the ball in his hands as much as possible, so he's allowed to make plays not only for himself but for LeBron and the rest of his teammates," Brown said.

"And on the flip side, defensively he's done a terrific job. In one game alone (against Chicago), he took three charges for us. We needed every one of them."

The Cavaliers entered the game Saturday as the league's second-ranked team in defensive field-goal percentage (42.2%). They were third in the league in field-goal percentage (48.6%) and third in points per game (104.0).

"Offensively, he's helped us get better in every single category," Brown said of the 25-year-old Williams. "He's been positive for the team and the city of Cleveland. When you add a guy like Mo, it helps with the chemistry."

West was considered primarily a point guard but has moved to the shooting guard spot. He has done well defending some of the top shooting guards in the league, including Atlanta's Joe Johnson and New Jersey's Vince Carter.

"Not only offensively but defensively, too, they play off each other well," Brown said. "We'll go through stretches where we like to pick up full-court, trap the ball and deny the point guard at times. Offensively, if one guy is tired and wants a break, we'll put the ball in the other guy's hands and he'll run the team.

"It's almost like a 1-2, and you add LeBron, a 3-punch that we have on the perimeter."

Williams never experienced much success with the Bucks, reaching the playoffs in just one of his four seasons in Milwaukee. That came in the 2005-'06 season, when he shared time at the point guard position with T.J. Ford.

The Bucks signed Williams to an offer sheet after his rookie season in Utah, and when the Jazz didn't match the offer, Milwaukee had landed a promising young player. He wasn't expected to play much in his first year with the Bucks but wound up starting 80 games when he beat out Mike James for the job in training camp. That was the year Ford did not play due to a spinal injury.

"That was an opportunity they gave me," Williams said. "It kind of opened the door up for me, got my confidence going. I had the opportunity to play different roles and kind of find my niche."

Williams said he wasn't sure what type of reception he would receive from the Bucks fans.

"We didn't win, and there weren't too many happy people around here," Williams said. "I was the head of the snake; maybe not. It really doesn't concern me.

"I think it will be mixed, some love-hate relationship."

Williams figured right, as he received a mix of boos and cheers when he was introduced and during the game.

"It's familiar territory," Williams said of being back in Milwaukee. "What's not familiar is staying in the hotel."

The Bucks-Cavaliers game ended too late for this edition. For coverage, go to

Copyright 2008, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 30, 2008


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