James taking dead aim

MIKE GANTER and STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

Mike James never has been counted on to be his team's scorer in his four seasons in the NBA, but with the Raptors struggling, James appears to be taking on that role.

The Raps' return in the Rafer Alston trade with Houston earlier this season has scored 38 and 36 points respectively in two of the past three games.

James isn't prepared to say he can maintain that over a full season but he's more than happy to give it a try.

"Only time will tell," James said. "I'm not doing anything that I couldn't do before. I just never had the opportunities to showcase myself. This is just playing the game. Whatever the defence gives me I'm just going in attack mode."

James also is doing his part to help keep his teammates from getting too down. After Wednesday's loss he had some encouraging words for 12-year veteran Jalen Rose, who barely got off the bench.

"That's my boy right there," he said of Rose. "I know what J. Rose can do."

Plenty of nerve

Darrick Martin, who was signed Wednesday to a one-year non-guaranteed contract, tells a story of playing in Russia and how he got out of a bad situation.

"We weren't getting paid so I asked around and found out the owner was the local mob boss. I went into his office and told him if he wasn't going to pay me he had to send me home. I was on my way home the next day. I guess he appreciated the fact that I spoke up for myself."

Alvin frustrated

Guard Alvin Williams, who recently returned from microfracture surgery on his right knee, was diagnosed with a bone spur on the same knee last week and is frustrated.

Williams wants the opportunity to test the knee in a game situation, but coach Sam Mitchell is not prepared to do that yet.

"We're 0-8 and I want to play and I feel like I could play a little bit, but I guess until the uncertainty about my knee and everything is gone, I probably won't be going out there," Williams said yesterday after practice. "I guess they don't know what they can expect out of me. But I want to go out there and try to see if I can do something."


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