Walt Williams looks back on “The Walt Williams Game”
Former Mav Walt Williams played his final NBA season with the Mavericks. As a free agent, he was intrigued with the core the Mavericks had in place which was centered around Michael Finley, Steve Nash, and Dirk Nowitzki.
“I just liked the makeup of it. I liked that they had a good mixture of veteran guys, mid-range guys, and I thought it was a championship caliber team and I thought I could help get towards that goal,” said Williams.
When reminiscing on the Mavericks 14-0 start to the season in which Finley, Nash and Nowitzki where the NBA’s Western Conference Players of the Month, Williams gave credit to Don Nelson.
“He was very nonchalant in the way he coached practice. We would go hard, but he just seemed like he was never worried about anything. I believe that confidence that he had…I believe that mentally fueled us and gave us even more confidence.”
Williams played an important role off the bench, providing steady play and timely 3 point shooting, but his playing time fluctuated throughout the Mavericks 60 win season and first round of the playoffs. If there’s anything true MFFLs remember about Walt during his time with the Mavericks, they remember Game 3 in Sacramento against the Kings in the 2003 Western Conference Semi-Finals.
The Mavericks and Kings had split the opening games in Dallas, and we’re heading into Sacramento play games 3 and 4 on back-to-back nights, a concept that NBA experimented with during the 2003 playoffs. The Kings were playing without All-Star forward Chris Webber, who suffered a career altering knee-injury in Game 2 of the series, but they were spurred by All Star Peja Stojakovic, and Mavs’ nemesis Mike Bibby who always seemed to step up his game to face Dallas in the playoffs. The Kings jumped out to a big lead early before the Mavericks eventually closed the gap. Walt didn’t even check into the game until nearly midway through the 4th quarter, but he certainly remembers what unfolded over the remainder of the 4th and both overtimes before the Mavericks pulled out an 141-137 double OT victory.
“That was a funny game right there. Because by that time, I was deep in the rotation and I wasn’t playing as many minutes…..I didn’t come into the game until the 4th quarter. I couldn’t wait, I was ready to go….and it was instant offense out there.”
Williams scored 10 crucial points over the latter portions of the game, including a dunk in traffic with 16 seconds left in the first OT that tied the game.
“I always maintained confidence in myself, and I felt I was a hell of a player. When I got into the game, there was no hesitation.”
Walt’s strong play carried over into the Maverick’s next series against the Spurs, especially after the Dirk Nowitzki went down with a knee injury over the team’s final few games. After the season, Walt retired from the NBA to focus more of his time on his family. Today, he is a financial advisor in Baltimore, Maryland area.
Thank you for listening, I hope you enjoy the episode.
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