Banner night for Raps

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

The pre-game introductions had a bit of a twist last night as Chris Bosh took centre court, microphone in hand and addressed the crowd.

This wasn't Glen Grunwald apologizing and promising the organization would do better.

After thanking the Raptors faithful for sticking with the team through "some tough times," Bosh pointed to the Bay street end of the Air Canada Centre.

"As a token of our appreciation, we want to show you something," Bosh said.

A brief burst of fireworks later and the first banner the Raptors have hung in the Air Canada Centre was unfurled commemorating their Atlantic Division title.

VINCE WANTS T.O. TOO

Vince Carter publicly was saying very little about his preference for a first-round opponent, but his teammates seem to be letting his feelings be known for him.

Asked by the New York Post what he would think of returning to Toronto for the first round this weekend, Carter replied, "Fine with me."

The rest of the room though couldn't hold their tongues.

"We've talked about it," Jason Kidd said. "Yeah, he wants it. And I'm right behind him (in support)."

"He's excited about it ... and he's up for it," Antoine Wright said.

"When he's up for something, he normally comes to play as well as anybody.

"I don't think there's any doubt about it. He wants it."

Told of these comments before last night's game, Raptors coach Sam Mitchell wouldn't bite.

"Look, the last time I checked you win the games on the floor, not in the newspapers," he said. "We will play who we play and at the end of the series the team that plays the best is going to win ... We're going to go out and compete and God bless him."

Mitchell said he would instruct his players not to engage in any back-and-forth through the media.

"There is nothing you guys are going to write that will help us," Mitchell said.

PRAISE FROM WASHINGTON

In a blog posted on hoopshype.com, Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan had nothing but praise for what the Raptors have accomplished this year.

"The Toronto Raptors, led by Chris Bosh, have developed into one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference," Jordan wrote. "They were on no one's radar before the season started. Head coach Sam Mitchell has brought a no non-sense approach to his team and it has paid dividends. Mitchell was on the hot seat before the season and now he's in the catbird's seat as the Raptors enter the playoffs with the Atlantic Division championship and the third seed in the upcoming playoffs."


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