Bosh: Bring him on!

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 5:51 PM ET

True to their word, there was no scoreboard watching.

When the New Jersey Nets officially became Toronto's first-round playoff opponents just after 10 p.m. last night, a handful of Raptors were at their lockers, backs to the one TV in the clubhouse showing the Nets game as they got dressed following a regular-season ending 122-119 loss to Philadelphia.

Point guard T.J. Ford had already left the locker room with 41/2 minutes remaining in the Nets game once again insisting it didn't matter who the Raptors played.

Who they played turned out to be more a fan thing than a Raptors thing. The Vince-haters, however, got their wish.

The Raps will open the series Saturday or Sunday at the Air Canada Centre. A schedule will be released today.

The Nets nailed down the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference and a first-round date with the third-seeded Raptors last night with a 102-92 win over Chicago.

Chris Bosh was in the middle of his post-game scrum with the local media when the Nets game ended. Informed that Carter had already let it be known during a post-game televisioin interview that he welcomed a Toronto first-round matchup, Bosh quickly followed suit.

"Yeah, I want to play Jersey," Bosh said. "Honestly, I didn't care who we played but now that we know the matchup, I welcome it. I'm sure he wants to play here and I don't mind seeing him, either. I think it's going to be a lot of fun to play in.

"(This series) is a turning point for this franchise and who better to play against than the guy who helped build this place up?"

Bosh said he will have no problem putting aside his friendship with Carter.

"I can be a friend with a guy off the court but stay all business on the court," Bosh said. "I have no problem differentiating between the two. I can hug a guy, shake his hand and ask him how his family is doing and play him and you would think that was my worst enemy. I think some guys kind of get that confused."

Trashing Carter every time he has come to Toronto has become something of a tradition in this city. He has played here five times since he helped engineer his own exit with a lot of half-hearted basketball and has heard it from the fans each and every time.

In a pair double-digit losses in Toronto this season, Carter averaged just 14.5 points while shooting a dismal 28.1%.

The Nets won both of their encounters on homecourt.

But anyone thinking Carter lets the rowdy welcome he normally gets in Toronto intimidate him need look no further than the first three games he played here following the trade.

In those, Carter averaged 33.7 points while shooting at a red-hot 53.8% clip.


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