Here are five things to watch in the series:
PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1 — Toronto's arch-rival Paul Pierce riled up the Raptors before the series even started, with his comment to ESPN.com that the Raptors don't have the "it" factor. Pierce was already in Toronto's bad books after blocking Kyle Lowry's final shot in Game 7 of last season's playoffs to clinch the series for the Brooklyn Nets. The Raptors can't wait to face Pierce again.
JURASSIC PARK — The Raptors fan base has grown to be one of the largest and most vocal in the NBA. Fans squeezed into Maple Leaf Square — or "Jurassic Park" — to watch the Raptors vs. Nets series on the big screen outside the Air Canada Centre, with the crowd swelling to around 10,000 for Game 7. Fans will be counted on as the team's "sixth man" again this series.
YOUNG GUNS — It was a tale of two playoffs for youngsters Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas last year. Valanciunas was solid in his first post-season experience, while Ross, one of the Raptors' most lethal scoring threats in the regular-season, wilted under the spotlight. Ross started every game, but averaged just 5.0 points. The Raptors have to hope a year under their belts will have both at their best against Washington.
LOUUUUUU! — When the Raptors desperately needed a big play this season, more often than not the ball wound up in the hands of sharp-shooter Lou Williams. The veteran guard, who the Raptors acquired this past off-season, has been a huge addition on the bench. With each buzzer-beating shot, a team employee sprints down the sideline flying a giant "Louuuuu!" flag.
THE MOUTH THAT ROARS — Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri provided plenty of drama in last season's series when he famously dropped an F-bomb about Brooklyn when addressing fans prior to Game 1. The Brooklyn slur became a catchphrase of sort for Toronto's thrilling playoff run, showing up on buttons, T-shirts, and flags. Fans are waiting to see what Ujiri has to say about the Wizards.Suggest a correction