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Raptors vs. Wizards: There can only be one

The Raptors face off against the team that embarrassed them in the playoffs last year. Let's get mad, or not.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Look, we all know that for the most part, rivalries in the NBA don't really exist. The league is way too deep, players far too well-travelled, and emotions too firmly curtailed, to allow for much real lasting animus. These facts don't stop us from believing the anger is real, though. As Marlo Stanfield, no stranger to rivalries once remarked, "you want it to be one way, but it's the other way." This is true.

Case in point: the Washington Wizards. There is no real animosity between this team and the Toronto Raptors. Kyle Lowry isn't looking to fight John Wall, Jonas Valanciunas does not want any fisticuffs with Marcin Gortat, and you better believe no Wizard (save maybe doofy Drew Gooden, I guess) would stumble into conflict with James Johnson. That's just the way it is.

Also, unfortunately, I highly doubt that Wizards fans, the true agents of escalation, care much about this supposed rivalry either. Their team has been into the playoffs a bunch of times in the last decade and know mostly embarrassing defeat; if anything, they can commiserate. A sweep of the Raptors was a nice little win for them before being ultimately crushed between the talons of the Hawks in six games. Now their team is a moribund 14-15, sitting behind the likes of Charlotte, Detroit and Orlando, outside of the playoff picture. My point is, the Wizards and their fans have bigger concerns than the Raptors.

So what does this leave us with as Raptors fans? In truth, not a whole hell of a lot. We want our team to beat the Wizards because, ultimately, we'd like to feel a little less bad about that whole 4-0 thing. Just a tad less bad would be nice. But we know, deep down, a win tonight will not change anything about that.

We want it to be one way, but it's the other way.

Let's get to the comments.