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LeBron James and Mo Williams have mutual respect

Published December 22, 2012 1:56 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Miami • Of all the people who were angry about "The Decision," the hour-long ESPN special in which LeBron James ditched Cleveland take his "talents to South Beach," Mo Williams was high on the list.

Williams was the Cavaliers' point guard in 2008-09, and along with James helped the Cavs to the league's best record. However, if Williams still harbors ill will to his former teammate, he hasn't shown it publicly. After James was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year earlier this month, Williams was complimentary and said, "You obviously mature with age."

With the Jazz in Miami to face James and the Heat for the first time since 2010 — and the first time with Williams as their point guard — the MVP's former running mate once again was concilatory when asked about James, who returned the favor.

"He's got an extreme work ethic," Williams said, "and he strives to get better."

Williams called James a "great teammate."

James is amid one of the best streaks in NBA history: His 23 straight games of 20 or more points to open a season is the most since Karl Malone's 24 straight in 1989-90. Additionally, James has played more than 211 minutes over 23 quarters without committing a foul.

Asked about Williams, James listed off a number of things he thinks the point guard does well, calling saying he has "one of the quickest triggers" in the NBA and said "if you don't get to him, that shot is going."

Here's LeBron's comments in full:

Mo is an attack guy. He has an unbelievable pull-up transition 3. He's a quick-twitch guy, meaning if you're not proactive he's going to beat you. He has that quick trigger. But the system allows him to know what's going on at every point of the game. Having those bigs also allows him to slow down sometimes and get those bigs into the flow. And when those bigs are dominating it allows him to open up his shot. If you don't get to him, that shot is going. He's one of the quickest triggers that we have in our league. Very good guard, very good point guard. I know he's happy to be back in Utah, back playing at a high level, not coming off the bench like he was with the Clippers."

— Bill Oram