Thursday , Feb , 15 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Toronto looking good, eh?

(Sports Network) – The Toronto Raptors haven’t played this well since Vince
Carter resided north of the border.

Toronto looking good, eh?

In fact, the Raptors and the fans stuck it to their old hero last night on
Valentine’s Day with a 120-109 victory over the New Jersey Nets in the opener
of a three-game homestand at the Air Canada Centre.

Carter used to have the city in the palm of his hands, but now those big
hands are filled with his shaking head as New Jersey trails the Raptors by
4 1/2 games in the Atlantic Division.

Now its Chris Bosh’s team, and the All-Star helped cut down the Nets with 25
points and nine rebounds. He is averaging 25.3 points and 9.6 rebounds in
seven games this month, and has 24 double-doubles in 41 games this season.
Bosh had a career high 41 points in a win over Orlando last week and buried
13-of-25 from the field and 15-of-17 from the free throw line.

Bosh, who is posting team highs in points (23.3) and rebounds (10.7), is
headed to the All-Star extravaganza this weekend in Las Vegas and will be
accompanied by teammates Andrea Bargnani and Jorge Garbajosa. Bosh will
start for the Eastern Conference on Sunday, while Bargnani and Garbajosa are
participating in Friday’s Rookie/Sophomore Challenge.

The trio have helped the Raptors to more victories already this season than
the squad had all of 2005-06. Toronto is 16-6 so far in the new year and has
ripped off eight straight wins at home, including Wednesday’s triumph. With 10
wins over the previous 12 contests at the Air Canada Centre, Toronto
improved to 19-7 as the host this season. The 19 wins by the mid-season mark
are a team high.

“We understand that we have to play hard and play well every night to win
basketball games,” said Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell. “Nothing is given to
us. We haven’t earned anything, we haven’t done anything.”

The Raptors will have some days off because of the All-Star break, and will
welcome Cleveland and Indiana to town when the second half of the 2006-07
campaign resumes.

Toronto has been home sweet home for the native Raptors, who haven’t missed
Carter, formerly known as Air Canada, since he opted for big bucks and headed
to the Meadowlands during the 2004-05 season.