Praise for Rose

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

If Jalen Rose needs a friend for a a heart-to-heart talk, he should call Raptors teammate Donyell Marshall. Marshall was quick to praise a disappointed Rose after he scored 12 points in his first game off the bench Wednesday against the Utah Jazz.

"I think he handled it well," Marshall said. "I know he's upset. He's one of the most competitive people I know. He went about it the right way. He came in the game and played hard. He shot the ball and played good defence ... He handled it well and I'm proud of him."

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell also seemed pleased with Rose for his on-court performance in the 98-86 win over the Jazz.

"(On Wednesday) he came out and played well and I know it was tough for him," Mitchell said.

WHO NEEDS CHRISTMAS?

While many of the Raptors headed home for a two-day break, point guard Rafer Alston stayed in Toronto, not eager to fly out in the ugly conditions.

In fact, if Alston had his way, he would have been playing yesterday.

"I'd love to play (yesterday)," Alston said with a smile. "I need to. You've got to be careful with the distractions.

"Christmas is great, but you can't go home eating a lot and get out of shape."

Alston recorded a career-high 14 assists Wednesday after registering just one helper in a loss to the Houston Rockets.

"It was hard to look at my teammates in the face and know that I had only one assist (Monday)," Alston said. "I'm not a guy taking 16-20 shots a night. I take the same amount of shots probably every night -- around eight or nine. It was upsetting to see I had only one assist, so I had to make sure I got one early (Wednesday)."

WARM WELCOME

Newcomer Eric Williams said Raptors fans have been quite kind to him since he arrived in Toronto this past weekend.

"The Raptors fans have been very open and warming to me," he said. "I'll be in the street and fans are welcoming me to this team and the city. They're making the transition go pretty well."


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