Raptors not fazed by Paul Pierce's trash talk on eve of matchup

TORONTO -- Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri could speak his mind in response to what Paul Pierce thinks about his team, but he learned his lesson from last year's playoffs.

The Wizards' veteran forward recently told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan that "we haven't done particularly well against Toronto, but I don't feel they have the 'it' that makes you worried."

After being fined $25,000 by the NBA for shouting "F--- Brooklyn!" at a fan rally outside the Air Canada Centre before Game 1 of the Raptors' first-round series against the Nets last year, Ujiri isn't saying what he might really want to say in response.

"I've been trying to figure that out [what Pierce means by 'it'], and I honestly don't have enough money to respond to him," Ujiri said Thursday. "If I did have enough money, everybody knows exactly how I would respond to it and how the whole of Toronto would respond to it."

Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said the young Raptors don't "really need [Pierce's] comments as motivation." But on Wednesday night after the Raptors beat the Hornets, DeRozan told Toronto reporters that Pierce might not want to see the Raptors in the playoffs before the matchups were made official later that night.

"I don't know, Paul Pierce has always gotta say something," DeRozan said, according to the National Post. "He said something last year. He's always got to say something. Just let him talk.

"I could care less what he says. He'd just better hope Chicago [falls to fourth to play the Wizards] or whatever [has] got to happen so he won't see what 'it' is."

Instead, the fourth-seeded Raptors will host the fifth-seeded Wizards in the first round. This is the second straight postseason that Pierce has faced the Raptors. Last year, Pierce helped the Nets squeeze by the then-inexperienced Raptors by coming up with a series-clinching block at the end of Game 7.

Pierce also helped the Nets steal Game 1 in Toronto by scoring nine straight points in the final three minutes of that game. He later would say his clutch play was "just in the DNA."

"Everybody don't have it. Everybody is not born with it," Pierce said. "Can't buy it at Costco or Walgreens. It's in the DNA."

Pierce doesn't seem to believe that the Raptors have "it" in their DNA.

"I don't make nothing whatsoever [out of Pierce's comments]," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "First of all he has to define 'it.' There is a lot of 'it' possibilities. I take it with a grain of salt. You are going to hear a lot of different things."