AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Raptors' playoff opponent will be determined tonight. And though they won't admit it, at least for the record, the last person they want to face is the former face of the franchise -- Vince Carter.
The fans at the Air Canada Centre might welcome the opportunity to boo Carter, now a member of the New Jersey Nets who pouted his way out of Toronto in 2005, but the feeling around the locker room is that Vinsanity just might go insane.
The Washington Wizards, who are battling the Nets for sixth seed in the East, are without Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler and would seem to provide the third-seeded Raptors with a more favourable matchup.
While Toronto fans may covet a Raptors-Nets series in the opening round, the players aren't so sure.
"Vince Carter is definitely a dangerous guy," Raptors guard Morris Peterson said. "He can play. I've seen him put up 50 (points). I've seen him play great games. And I've been in playoff series with him and I've seen his drive. And if we played Jersey it would probably give him an extra incentive to play harder."
Chris Bosh, who was given the night off in last night's 100-84 loss to the host Detroit Pistons, agrees.
"He has played some good games against us before," said the all-star power forward. "If we do play them, I think it will be a great series. He's still getting triple-doubles, he still averages 25-plus points. Guys have to respect and remember that."
The Raptors (47-34) close out the regular-season tonight at home against the Philadelphia 76ers, one win shy of setting the club record for wins.
Head coach Sam Mitchell, however, is certainly not going to do anything drastic, such as giving key starters such as Bosh, T.J. Ford or Anthony Parker, major minutes just days before the playoffs begin.
"We've won the division. Am I going to try to do that (push for the record) at the expense of playing somebody when maybe I should be cutting their minutes? No," Mitchell said.
Last night, Mitchell also sat out Parker. Joey Graham, who has played well recently as the team's starting small forward, did not dress because of flu-like symptoms.
In fact, only Ford and Rasho Nesterovic started at their normal positions, while Kris Humphries, Peterson and Luke Jackson rounded out the unit.
Mitchell said it is a win-win situation when the final two games of the season don't mean a lot, as he can rest his starters and give minutes to the other guys.
"People need to play," he said. "There are things we need to work on, things that we're trying to get better at. We're going to try to win the games, regardless of who is on the floor. And we've still got people who want to convince the coaches that they should be playing come Saturday or Sunday."
Peterson, who grew up in nearby Flint, recorded his first double-double of the season (14 points and 13 rebounds), but left the game with a minute remaining because of mild hyper-extended right knee.
Uros Slokar had a career-high 18 points.
C -- Offence: The Raptors shot 39% from the floor and recorded only 21 assists as compared to 31 for the Pistons.
C Defence: Allowed the Pistons to shoot 53% from the field and out-scored the Raptors on the fast-break 21-6.