Alston rips former coach Mitchell before Friday's game

TORONTO -- Houston guard Rafer Alston was critical of
Raptors coach Sam Mitchell before his first game back in Toronto,
saying he didn't prepare his players for games.

Alston was traded to the Rockets during training camp. He
repeatedly clashed with Mitchell last year and arrived about an
hour and 15 minutes before the game Friday.

"I loved to be prepared," Alston said. "I love to go in there
and understand what we are doing defensively, offensively. I like
to know what the other teams have been doing the last five or six
games. Going into games I didn't know."

Alston said there was no comparison between Mitchell and his
current coach, Jeff Van Gundy.

"I enjoy playing for Jeff," he said.

When asked what Mitchell didn't do, Alston said: "I don't have
an example of it. Like I say, preparation is everything, life,
sports. No matter what you do, you got to prepare."

Alston was involved in several scrapes last season. He
threatened to quit the team and the NBA after a Dec. 3 game in
Boston and was suspended by the Raptors for two games for conduct
detrimental to the club after he walked out during practice.

Mitchell said Friday he's not going to dignify Alston's

"We wish Rafer well," he said. "I don't feel like I was
slapped in the face."

The Raptors signed Alston to a six-year contract worth between
$27 million and $30 million before last season, but sent him to
Houston in a trade for Mike James in October.

James entered Friday's game averaging 15.9 points and 4.6
assist, while Alston was averaging 9.2 points and 4.6 assists.

Alston was a second-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in
1998 out of Fresno State.