No playoff preference

STEVE BUFFERY

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

Raptors all-star Chris Bosh never has played in the NBA playoffs, but he understands not to give ammunition to any prospective first-round opponents.

Bosh and Raptors coach Sam Mitchell yesterday were pressed following the team's morning shootaround at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia if they had a preference for a first-round foe.

The Raptors presently are third in the Eastern Conference and have wrapped up a playoff spot. However, they still are in a fight to maintain third with the Miami Heat breathing on their heels, and get home-court advantage in the first round.

The first-round matchups are up in the air, although the Raptors likely will face one of the Chicago Bulls, Miami, the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Washington Wizards

Bosh was not going to get caught in the trap of making his preference public. He was not about to say the Raptors have the best chance of defeating Team A in the playoffs and then watching Team A use his quote as inspiration, which often happens.

"Do I have a preference? Not really," Bosh said. "I can't be picky. I just wanted to make the playoffs. It really doesn't matter who is in front of us.

"I think most teams would say Washington right now because of their injury problems. A team like that can play inspired basketball. You always have to be careful what you ask for."

Mitchell agreed it would be a mistake to jockey for a certain spot in the final standings to get the chance to play a certain team, such as Washington. The Wizards will be without their two top stars, Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler, in the first round of playoffs because of injuries.

"What, is Washington going to quit?" Mitchell said, when asked if he would like to meet the Wizards in Round 1. "They've got some talented players. Teams are going to be lining up at the door to hopefully play them. But don't be surprised if that door leads to an exit, instead of an entrance.

"You're going to have a lot of people jockeying themselves trying to play Washington. Be careful what you wish for and hope for."

Mitchell said he is concerned only about his squad winning the division and securing home-court advantage, not who their first-round opponent will be.

"We're going to play who we play when the dust settles. Then it's time to think about it," he said.

BARGNANI CLEARED

Rookie forward Andrea Bargnani, who had his appendix removed on March 21, has been cleared to begin practising today and should be in the lineup for the game in Minnesota on Monday or back home against Detroit next Friday.


Videos

Photos