Vince Carter has struggled in his last three trips to Toronto. Now his former team has the opportunity to officially knock him and the New Jersey Nets out of the playoff race.

Carter and the Nets hope to keep their faint playoff hopes alive Friday when they visit the Toronto Raptors.

The Nets (32-46) are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings, four games behind eighth-place Atlanta, which holds the final playoff spot, and two games behind ninth-place Indiana. With four games remaining for all three teams, a loss by New Jersey or a win by Atlanta on Friday against the New York Knicks would knock the Nets out of contention.

New Jersey, which has not missed the playoffs since 2001, hasn't made things easy on itself. The Nets have lost five of their last six games, including a 104-83 loss at Cleveland on Wednesday. They shot only 33.3 percent and scored just nine points in the fourth quarter.

Carter had 19 points and six assists to lead New Jersey, the first time in 12 games he failed to score at least 20 points.

"It's tough when you're not hitting shots, not making layups and calls we felt we should have gotten, we weren't getting," he said. "It was a triple-threat negative."

Carter looks to bounce back Friday against the team he spent the first six years of his career with before requesting a trade during the 2004-05 season. After averaging 33.7 points in his first three visits to Toronto - all wins - he's scored a total of 44 points his last three games at Air Canada Centre - all losses.

Carter's return to Toronto (39-39) should help incite the home crowd, which Chris Bosh called out following the Raptors' last game.

Toronto, which has clinched a playoff spot, snapped a three-game losing streak Wednesday with a 111-93 win over Milwaukee. Rasho Nesterovic had 22 points and 14 rebounds while Bosh added 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

Bosh said he was disappointed that the home crowd was so quiet.

"Could you hear yourself talk?" Bosh asked reporters. "We're getting ready for the playoffs. I'm just saying I'm excited. I don't know if anybody else is excited, but I'm excited. I'm not waiting for next week. I'm trying to do it right now and that's the mentality we need to take, the whole organization, the whole building."

The Raptors are 23-16 at home, and will wrap up their home schedule Monday against lowly Miami. Bosh said the Raptors need the crowd to help create a tougher atmosphere.

"When you go to places like Dallas, Utah, Detroit and Cleveland it's loud," Bosh said. "It really gives them an advantage."

Toronto is one game behind Philadelphia for the No. 6 seed with four remaining.

Bosh had 27 points and nine rebounds in a 109-91 victory Feb. 13, the Raptors' second in three games versus New Jersey this season.


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