The Toronto Raptors will try to take another step back toward the postseason on Wednesday night when they open their season against the Boston Celtics at the Air Canada Centre.
You can watch the game live on TSN2 at 7pm et/4pm pt.
The Raptors finished the 2012-13 season with a 34-48 record, but have plenty of optimism going forward after finishing 18-18 once the team acquired forward Rudy Gay.
Gay and fifth-year pro Demar DeRozan led the Raptors to a 6-1 preseason record, which included two victories over the Celtics.
The spotlight for the Raptors will be on sophomore player Jonas Valanciunas, who is expected to have a breakout season after several strong performances in the NBA's Summer League.
Despite the promise of several young players on the Raptors roster, head coach Dwane Casey knows his game plan will be about more than winning games on talent alone.
"We have to be a team that competes, that scraps, that fights," Casey said. "We're not going to out-talent anyone, we're not going to just go out and jack up threes over anyone. We've got to outscrap and outfight anybody we go against. That's what I've got written down on a piece of paper in my mind."
This game will be the first step for the Raptors in their quest towards making the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and ending the longest playoff drought of the team's 19-year history.
MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke said "they're out to prove something this year" when asked about Canada's lone NBA entry.
General Manager Masai Ujiri backed Leiweke's statement, describing the team's identity as being all about "toughness."
While the Raptors hope to fight towards the playoffs this season, the Celtics seem to be headed in an opposite direction.
The Celtics traded stars Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets in the offseason, in addition to dealing their head coach, Doc Rivers, to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The former powerhouse Celtics are now in the midst of a major roster overhaul and are expected to struggle mightily.
The lone all-star who remains with the Celtics, Rajon Rondo, will not play as he continues to rehab a torn ACL.
This game will be the first look at the rebuilding Celtics and should feature plenty of playing time for Canadian Kelly Olynyk.
Olynyk was taken 13th overall by the Celtics in this year's draft and finished third on the team with 72 points in eight preseason games.
Wednesday night will mark the opening of the Raptors' 19th season in the NBA.