Tonight is a must-win

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

As much as head coach Sam Mitchell would hate this statement, tonight's game between the Raptors and Nets is the most important game of the season for both teams.

The Raptors lead the Nets by 31/2 games in the Atlantic Division, with the top team in the Division securing a playoff spot at the end of the season.

Both clubs played last night, the Raptors in Chicago and New Jersey playing host to the San Antonio Spurs. The Raptors, however, will catch a major break as the Nets' star point guard, Jason Kidd, is experiencing back pain and will not play. New Jersey already is without starters Richard Jefferson and Nenad Krstic.

On the down side, Vince Carter usually gets up for games against his former team. Both Kidd and Carter have been mentioned in trade rumours for the past couple of months.

FOUL RESCINDED

A technical foul charged against Rasheed Wallace of the Detroit Pistons in a game against the Raptors on Saturday night has been rescinded by the NBA. The ruling leaves him at 14, two away from his first one-game suspension. Starting with No. 16, NBA players are served a suspension for every second technical foul thereafter.

THE BRAZILIAN BRUISER

Former Raptors centre Rafael Araujo was the subject of some wrath following Utah's 102-76 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday net.

Late in the game, with his Jazz well ahead, Araujo was slapped with a flagrant-2 foul, after his left arm connected with the face of Marvin Williams as the Atlanta small forward made a move to the basket, bloodying Williams' nose.

"It was a dirty play, plain and simple," Hawks swingman Josh Childress told the Deseret Morning News.

"He (Araujo) should have been kicked out of the game -- and he should be suspended," added Atlanta coach Mike Woodson.

"You take a guy's face off like that, it's unacceptable. You can't do that. The league will have a chance to see it, and they will make a decision from there."

Araujo has played in only 10 games for the Jazz and has averaged eight minutes per game, 1.9 points and two rebounds.


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